CHINA has begun construction of the Harbin - Yichun high-speed line, the northernmost high-speed line to be built in the country and the first to be built across permafrost.

The 300km, 250km/h line will reduce travel times from Harbin to Suihua and Yichun to one and two hours, respectively.

A total of 5.8km of line will cross 14 sections of permafrost, which is up to 3m deep in places.

“The railway will not only cross permafrost regions, but will also pass through primeval forests and water conservation areas,” says Mr Ma Guochen, project director with China Railway 22nd Bureau Group. “The environmental protection requirements are extremely high, and a number of technical problems need to be solved.”

The line will form the main rail corridor in China’s northern regions, and will improve trade routes with Russia.

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