303-km line con­nects ma­jor cities in Shan­dong

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By XIECHUANJIAO xiechuanjiao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.”

TANG KE / FOR CHINA DAILY

An at­ten­dant hands a com­mem­o­ra­tive en­ve­lope to pas­sen­gers on the maiden trip of the Qing­dao-Rongcheng high-speed rail in Shan­dong prov­ince on Wed­nes­day.

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