New high-speed rail opens along ancient silk road

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, July 11, 2017
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The bullet train D2685 leaves Xi'an North Railway Station in Xi'an, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, July 9, 2017. A new high speed railway linking Baoji city in northwest China's Shaanxi Province with Lanzhou, capital of neighboring Gansu Province, started operation Sunday. Thanks to the new route, northwest China's Gansu and Qinghai provinces as well as Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have been connected to the national high-speed rail network. (Xinhua/Zhang Bowen)

LANZHOU, July 9 (Xinhua) -- A new high speed railway linking Baoji city in northwest China's Shaanxi Province with Lanzhou, capital of neighboring Gansu Province, started operation Sunday.

Thanks to the new route, northwest China's Gansu and Qinghai provinces as well as Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have been connected to the national high-speed rail network.

It also marks the expansion of a high-speed rail line along the ancient Silk Road, a trade route which connected China and Eurasia two thousand years ago but used to take months for people to travel on camelback.

The Baoji-Lanzhou high-speed rail is 401 kilometers long with an operation speed of 250 km per hour. Construction began in 2012. The rail line slashes the travel time between Xi'an and Lanzhou to three hours from the previous six hours, according local rail authorities.

The 1,776-km Lanzhou-Xinjiang high-speed rail was operational at the end of 2014, but was unable to reach central and eastern China as the Baoji-Lanzhou line was still under construction.

The new rail line is part of China's efforts to boost connectivity along the Belt and Road, where transportation demand is surging as regional ties and cooperation keep strengthening.

By linking key cities along the ancient silk road such as Xi'an, Lanzhou, Xining and Urumqi, the new route is expected to boost outbound passenger flow from the northwest and improve transport capacity on the Eurasian rail corridor.

In less than two hours, train tickets for the newly-opened Baoji-Lanzhou were sold out after pre-sale started Thursday afternoon.

"Now that the railway has opened, my wife and daughter can come and visit me more often," said a Kazakhstani student in Xi'an who adopted the Chinese name of Mi De.

He said he used to fly from his hometown to Urumqi and then spend more than 30 hours on train to travel from Urumqi to Xi'an.

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