The railway has a design speed of 250km/h and will be used by freight trains as well as passenger services. The completion of the link will reduce journey times between Wuhan and Yichang to 1h 39min.

Construction began in 2008 and was due to be completed last year. However, reports suggest remedial work was carried out last March to address subsidence on sections totalling 7.2km around Qianjiang in Hubei province. According to China Daily the line's constructor, China Railway 12th Bureau Group, said the problems were not caused by poor engineering, while the provincial railway construction office blamed geological factors.

The railway forms part of the 2078km Huhanrong Passenger Dedicated Line, an east-west corridor linking Shanghai with Wuhan and Chengdu. The adjoining Wuhan – Hefei and Yichang – Wanzhou sections are already in operation.