Tracklaying is on course for completion by December and 180km of track has been laid so far. The first batch of CRRC locomotives for the line is due to be delivered in November in readiness for the start of trials and commissioning of the $US 3.8bn railway is scheduled for June 2017.

Huawei announced on April 27 that it has been awarded a contract to deliver a GSM-R network together with an optical transmission network, clock synchronisation system, and power and environmental monitoring systems.

The line is being constructed by China Road and Bridge Corporation with 90% financing from Exim Bank of China.

Freight trains will operate at up to 80km/h and the maximum speed for passenger trains will be 120km/h. The line will have a design capacity of 25 million tonnes of freight per year.