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SOE achieves milestone in key HSR construction

By ZHUANG QIANGE and PANG BO | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-18 09:35
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Employees of China Railway No 4 Engineering Group Co Ltd lay tracks on the Wuhan-Yichang section of the Shanghai-Chongqing-Chengdu High-speed Railway in Jingmen, Hubei province. WU HUAIQIU/FOR CHINA DAILY

The Shanghai-Chongqing-Chengdu High-speed Railway, which will link a number of urban clusters along China's longest river — the Yangtze — and benefit some 600 million people, got a boost on Tuesday as the railway's builder began laying tracks along a key section.

Builders from State-owned China Railway No 4 Engineering Group Co Ltd (CREC4) began laying 500-meter-long ballast-free tracks on the Wuhan-Yichang section, which is part of the 2,100-kilometer HSR costing some 600 billion yuan ($84.2 billion).

They laid the tracks at the construction site of Jingmen West Railway Station, along the 315.5-km Wuhan-Yichang section, in the prefecture-level city of Jingmen, Hubei province.

Li Yi, work safety supervisor for the CREC4 management department of the project, said the entire line — which runs parallel with the Yangtze and links six provincial-level regions of Shanghai, Jiangsu, Anhui, Hubei, Chongqing and Sichuan — is being built and put into operation section by section, and is expected to be fully operational by 2030.

Li said the Wuhan-Yichang section — which launched construction in September 2021 with a total investment of some 52.27 billion yuan — will be open to traffic by June next year.

Upon its opening, it can allow travelers from Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei, to reach Shanghai in the east or Chongqing in the southwest within three hours, thus fully boosting the transport of passengers and cargo along the line, he said.

Li added that the Shanghai-Chongqing-Chengdu HSR will include such sections as Shanghai-Nanjing-Hefei, Hefei-Wuhan, Wuhan-Yichang, Yichang-Fuling, Fuling-Chongqing and Chongqing-Chengdu.

Speaking at a track-laying launch ceremony on Tuesday, Liu Bo, Party secretary and chairman of CREC4, called on the company's builders to make the Wuhan-Yichang section into a showcase project for the entire HSR.

The section starts at Hankou Station in Wuhan and runs westward through Hanchuan, Tianmen and Zhongxiang before ending in Yichang — another prefecture-level city in Hubei, said Wen Liangcheng, a staff member from CREC4's publicity department.

Allowing trains to run at 350 kilometers per hour, it will have eight stations — Hankou, Hanchuan East, Tianmen North, Jingshan South, Zhongxiang South, Jingmen West, Dangyang West and Yichang North, Wen said.

Li said CREC4 will be in charge of laying tracks for the entire Wuhan-Yichang section, which is being invested and managed by Wuhan-based Yangtze River Coastal Railway Group Co Ltd.

Ma Chunshan, Party secretary and chairman of Yangtze River Coastal Railway Group, said at the ceremony that the Shanghai-Chongqing-Chengdu HSR "will be of vital importance in supporting the high-quality development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt and building Hubei into a strategic fulcrum for the rise of Central China".

In Hubei alone, about 26 million people along the Wuhan-Yichang section will have access to faster and more convenient transportation, Ma said.

Wen said on the eastern end, the Wuhan-Yichang section can link with the Hefei-Wuhan section of the Shanghai-Chongqing-Chengdu HSR, Beijing-Guangzhou HSR, Wuhan-Jiujiang HSR and Wuhan-Huanggang-Huangmei intercity railway.

He added that on the western end, the Wuhan-Yichang section can join the Yichang connecting line with Zhengzhou-Chongqing HSR, and the Chongqing-Yichang HSR.

Jingmen West Railway Station, located in Zhanghe new area of Jingmen, is an intermediate station to be jointly used by the Shanghai-Chongqing-Chengdu HSR and the Jingmen-Jingzhou HSR, running between the two prefecture-level cities in Hubei, Wen said.

The station will have five platforms with 13 railway lines, he said.

To ensure smooth track-laying work, CREC4 builders are using intelligent track-laying technology, Wen said.

Chen Kexiong, 72, a villager living near Jingmen West Railway Station, said he will be happy to see people in Jingmen greeting the HSR next year.

For years, rapid transport for them has always been a challenge, he said.

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