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Urumqi-Lanzhou High-speed Rail Starts Full Operation
   2014-12-26 16:04:44    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guo

Stewardess Ma Xiaoying works in a bullet train on the Lanxin high-speed railway in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Dec. 26, 2014. The 1,776-kilometer Lanxin high-speed railway was put into operation on Friday, linking Lanzhou, capital of Gansu Province, Xining, capital of Qinghai Province, both in northwest China, and Urumqi. [Photo: Xinhua/Zhao Ge]

A high-speed railway connecting Gansu's capital Lanzhou with Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi, is now operational.

The line is being touted as China's first high-speed link through a high-altitude area, the line will slash the travel time from 23 hours to 11 hours.

CRI's Wang Wei has more.

 

A bullet train has departed from Lanzhou railway station Friday morning, embarking on its maiden journey to Xinjiang.

The line will cut the travel time between Lanzhou and Urumqi from 23 hours down to 11.

The train passes through 19 stations across the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai before arriving in Urumqi.

It will hit speeds of up to 250 kilometers per hour.

The new railway goes through popular tourist destinations, including Zhangye and the Jiayuguan Pass, which is where the Great Wall of China ends.

Locals in Lanzhou say they expect the new line will certainly help with tourism.

"It's so fast, it's a good news. There are many tourist attractions along the line. I have seen on the TV that the scenery is very beautiful. Now that the high-speed railway is running, we will go and take a look. "

A second-class seat sells for 548 yuan.

A first-class seat costs 658 yuan.

Aside from helping promote tourism in the region, the new rail line is expected to help with logistics in the vast region.

Liu Jun is the owner of a logistics company in Urumqi.

"High speed rail can help us to cut costs and become more efficient in our logistics. It should also help stimulate development in related industries and the service sector. I think it will bring more opportunities for us."

The new rail line is expected to double the annual freight volume.

The so-called Lanxin railway isn't the only new line being opened in China.

Friday has seen the opening of a high-speed line linking Guizhou's capital, Guiyang, and Guangdong's capital, Guangzhou.

Another line connecting Guangxi's regional capital, Nanning, has also been opened into Guangzhou.

Zhang Jianbo is the head of Guiyang-Guangzhou Railway Company.

"The Guiyang-Guangzhou railway will later connect to other lines including the Chengdu-Guiyang railway, the Chongqing-Guiyang railway, the Lanzhou-Chongqing line and the Lanzhou-Xinjiang line. It will link the southwest and northwest regions, which serves as a link the Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road."

The concept of a 21st Century Silk Road is an initiative being championed by Chinese President Xi Jinping as a way to connect China with other countries along the ancient trading paths.

For CRI, I'm Wang Wei.
 

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