303-km line connects major cities in Shandong
Travel times between three of Shandong province’s major cities are set to be cut dramatically, as the province’s first high-speed intercity railway began operation on Wednesday.
The 303-kilometer high-speed line connects coastal Qingdao, Yantai, WeihaiandRongchengontheeastern Shandong Peninsula. Its construction startedinOctober2011withaninvestment of 37 billion yuan ($5.5 billion).
According to Liu Qing, deputy director of Qingdao Railway Station, trains will travel at an average 250 km per hour, with a top speed of 300 km/h.
“Stopping at 14 stations along the way, the line will reduce travel times between Qingdao and Yantai from fouranda half hours to just one hour, and between Qingdao andWeihai to less than two hours,” he said.
Nearly 20 million people will benefit from the newservice.
Experts said it will also eliminate transportation bottlenecks in the northeastern area of Shandong Peninsula, helping to promote regional communication and cooperation.
Speed of transportation is key to allowing labor markets to function effectively in ever-expanding cities.
“The highly developed transportation network will support commuting between neighboring cities, and the frequent flow of people across the region will further promote the development of local industries, markets, management, education, transportation and communications,” said Liu Yonggang, a senior official with theQingdao Section of Shanghai Speed Train Team.
“In this case, the intercity railway will help to implement Shandong’s urbanization strategy and the formation of a city cluster, as Qingdao, Yantai and Weihai already share close cultural ties and a high-degree of integration,” Liu said.
Tourism in towns along the railway will also be boosted as it traverses the country’s sailing capital of Qingdao, leisure destination Yantai and the picturesque city of Weihai.
LiXiaoyan, who works for aQingdao-based company, said she is excited about the newrailway.
“We have been waiting for the line for more than 10 years,” she told China Daily. “It took me a four-hour drive, or more than a six-hour bus ride, to visit my parents in Yantai, and it was even harder for my parents to come to see me. Now, it is only a half-day trip. I can’t wait to ride it.”
An attendant hands a commemorative envelope to passengers on the maiden trip of the Qingdao-Rongcheng high-speed rail in Shandong province on Wednesday.