Scenic high-speed rail route up and running in Jilin
By Liu Mingtai and He Na
( China Daily )
A high-speed train uses the Jilin-Hunchun line, which opened on Sunday. Trains will travel on the route at speeds of up to 250 km/h. [Photo/China Daily]
China's first high-speed passenger railway line to the borders with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Russia has started business.
The 361-kilometer line runs from Jilin city, the second-largest city in Jilin province, to Hunchun, near to where the borders of the three countries meet.
Dubbed by the media as the most beautiful rail line in Northeast China, the route opened on Sunday.
Construction started in August 2011. With trains running at speeds of up to 250 km/h, traveling time between the two cities has been cut from six hours by long-distance bus to two and a quarter hours.
The new line brings rail travel to Hunchun, which has a population of 220,000, for the first time. The city on the lower reaches of the Tumen River is an important gateway to the East Sea and a key trading hub in Northeast Asia.
Gao Yulong, the mayor of Hunchun, said: "With the opening of the new high-speed railway and construction of other transportation facilities to Russia and other Northeast Asian countries in the future, Hunchun will become a major gateway connecting Northeast Asia via land and sea routes."
Ji Yansong, deputy chief engineer at the Changchun-Jilin High-Speed Railway Co, said inconvenient transportation links in the region had curbed development of the regional economy.
"The new line will ... promote economic cooperation in the region. More important, it will help to improve international transportation in Northeast Asia and promote trading ... with the Far East region," he said.
The line has nine stations, including Jilin, Jiaohe, Weihuling, Dunhua and Tumen, which have a wealth of tourism resources.
The new route gives travelers scenic views of Songhua Lake, Jingpo Lake, Changbai Mountain and Fangchuan township. It includes 115 bridges and 85 tunnels.
With a daily capacity of about 27,000, accumulated passenger volume is expected to reach 330 million in 2020.
Yu Bingfeng, a Jilin resident who traveled on the line on Sunday, said: "I wanted to experience the maiden trip. The views along the route are really good, and it's no longer a dream to visit Hunchun for business in the morning and return home before dinner time."
On Sept 1, another high-speed railway opened in Northeast China, linking Shenyang and Dandong, a major border city with the DPRK. The new route cuts traveling time between the cities in Liaoning province from more than three hours to one.