High-speed rail

New con­nec­tion opens in China’s north­west re­gion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By LUO WANGSHU in Lanzhou lu­owang­shu@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The new high-speed rail­way run­ning through the Loess Plateau was opened on Sun­day, the last piece in the puz­zle link­ing the less-de­vel­oped north­west re­gion to the rest of the coun­try.

The 401-kilo­me­ter line links Baoji in Shaanxi prov­ince and Lanzhou in Gansu prov­ince, con­nect­ing the north­west­ern re­gion to the na­tional high­speed rail net­work.

To the west, the line con­nects to the Lanzhou-Xin­jiang high­speed rail­way, China’s west­ern­most high-speed rail track. To the east, it links the XuzhouZhengzhou high-speed rail­way to the coun­try’s far­thest east coastal area.

The Baoji-Lanzhou line has eight stops, in­clud­ing Baoji South, Tian­shui South and Qin’an sta­tions. With trains trav­el­ing up to 250 km per hour, it cuts the travel time be­tween the two cities from seven hours to just two, ac­cord­ing to China Rail­way Corp, the na­tion’s rail op­er­a­tor.

The new line has re­shaped the map of China’s bul­let train

It has fur­ther im­proved China’s high-speed rail net­work, cut­ting rail travel time, boost­ing peo­ple-to-peo­ple com­mu­ni­ca­tions.” Zhang Tao, chief en­gi­neer of Lanzhou rail­way bureau’s pas­sen­ger trans­port depart­ment

op­er­a­tions. Lanzhou, the cap­i­tal of Gansu, is now con­nected to many me­trop­o­lises, in­clud­ing Bei­jing, Shang­hai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Wuhan and Chang­sha.

The travel time from Lanzhou to Bei­jing has been cut from 17 hours to nine; to Shang­hai, from 23 hours to 10; and to Guangzhou, from 30 hours to 12.

“The Baoji-Lanzhou high­speed rail­way is the main rail chan­nel link­ing China’s east­ern, cen­tral and western re­gions,” said Zhang Tao, chief en­gi­neer of Lanzhou rail­way bureau’s pas­sen­ger trans­port depart­ment.

“It has fur­ther im­proved China’s high-speed rail net­work, cut­ting rail travel times, boost­ing peo­ple-to-peo­ple com­mu­ni­ca­tions, as well as greatly en­hanc­ing so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment,” he said.

“It has also in­creased the rail trans­port ca­pa­bil­ity of the New Eurasian Con­ti­nen­tal Bridge, play­ing an im­por­tant role in link­ing China with coun­tries in Cen­tral Asia, and pro­mot­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment along the new Silk Road,” he added.

Build­ing a high-speed rail­way along the Loess Plateau was not an easy task. The new line runs through the erodi­ble soil of the plateau, with more than 90 per­cent of the tracks be­ing built on bridges or in tun­nels.

“Build­ing a high-speed rail­way here is like build­ing a high-speed rail­way on tofu,” said Yuan Tao, project man­ager of the Gansu sec­tion of the Baoji-Lanzhou high­speed rail project from the China Rail­way Con­struc­tion Corp.

Zhu Yaozhang, chief en­gi­neer of the Gansu sec­tion, said, “It was a big chal­lenge to build a high-speed rail­way on the Loess Plateau due to the com­pli­cated ge­o­log­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment.

“The erodi­ble soil is frag­ile, and can sub­side when sat­u­rated,” Zhu said, adding that such soil can cause ge­o­log­i­cal haz­ards such as land­slides.

Be­cause the soil is prone to sub­si­dence, a si­mul­ta­ne­ous ob­ser­va­tion sys­tem has been built to closely mon­i­tor the state of the soil.

“The sys­tem col­lects data, which is mon­i­tored by tech­ni­cians to pre­vent dam­age and en­sure safety,” he said.

FANG YI / FOR CHINA DAILY

Per­form­ers dance on the first train to op­er­ate on the Baoji-Lanzhou high-speed rail­way at Lanzhou West Rail­way Sta­tion in Gansu prov­ince on Sun­day.

Source: Lanzhou rail­way bureau CHINA DAILY

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