CHINA Railway (CR) brought into service 288km of high-speed infrastructure between Huangshan and Nanchang on December 27, completing the 560km high-speed line between Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province and Nanchang in Jiangxi Province.

Designed for operation at up to 350km/h, the first section between Huangshan and Hangzhou opened on December 25 2018.

The latest section to open serves Huangshan North, Yixian East, Qimen South, Fuliang East, Jingdezhen North, Leping North, Poyang, Yugan, Jinxian North and Nanchang East. The project has involved increasing station capacity at both Huangshan North and Jingdezhen North.

Up to 32 trains a day are running during the initial phase of operations, with the fastest journey time between Huangshan and Nanchang being 1h 45min. The new line between Hangzhou and Zhejiang serves many major tourist destinations and now forms “a world-class golden tourist route” connecting cities, towns and lake and mountain areas in the provinces of Zhejiang, Anhui and Jiangxi, according to CR.

Longyan - Wuping line

Designed for operation at up to 250km/h, the 92km high-speed line between Longyan and Wuping in the eastern province of Fujian opened on December 26.

Forming part of the route between Fujian and Guangdong Province, the new line traverses mountainous terrain and is expected to stimulate tourism as well as the overall social and economic development of the region.

December 26 also saw the opening of the 162km Shantou - Shanwei high-speed line serving the Greater Bay Area in eastern Guangdong Province, designed for operation at up to 350km/h.

Journey times from Shantou to Shanwei, Guangzhou and Shenzhen have been reduced to 36 minutes, 1h 53min and 1h 49min respectively.

Construction of the line has presented many challenges due to the high humidity and salt levels of the coastal climate. Structures include a major bridge over the Aojiang River and the Huilai Tunnel, while the final 20km section, including an undersea tunnel beneath Shantou Bay, remains under construction.

In the southern part of Sichuan Province, a 261km high-speed line designed for operation at up to 350km/h opened on December 26 from Chengdu to Zigong and Yibin, cutting the Chengdu - Zigong journey time from several hours by road to 51 minutes. The journey time from Chengdu to Yibin is 1h 13min.

Taking the new line thorough the mountains and deep valleys of Sichuan required the construction of 231 bridges and 29 tunnels, and its completion is expected to boost tourism and economic development, improving connections with Chengdu, the provincial capital.

Meanwhile, groundbreaking ceremonies were held on December 26 at either end of the new Shaoyang - Yongzhou high-speed line in Hunan Province.

Designed for operation at up to 350km/h, the new line will be 96km long. Work is expected to take four years to complete at an estimated cost of Yuan 19.7bn ($US 2.77bn).

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