A railway ferry service plying the Qiongzhou Straits between Leizhou Peninsula in south China's Guangdong province and Haikou City on Hainan Island begins on Tuesday morning.
Preparations for the service were completed on Jan. 2.
The Guangdong-Hainan railway connection linking the two provinces consists of a 139-km railroad from Zhanjiang to Hai'an on Leizhou Peninsula and the 12.5-mile cross-strait ferry service.
After crossing the Qiongzhou Straits, the ferry link joins the railway line at Chahe Harbor on the west coast of the island that runs directly to Sanya City.
Costing 4.5 billion yuan (about 542 million US dollars), the railway connection has just passed assessment by 36 experts including officials from the Chinese Ministry of Railways, Guangdong and Hainan provinces, as well as engineers who designed the system.
Two ferries will be used in the country's first marine railway ferry service. The first to be launched was designed by the No. 708 Institute of the China Shipbuilding and Trading Company and built at the Shanghai Shipyard.
The 12,400-ton ferry which cost 210 million yuan (25 million USdollars) has passed a raft of tests and met design requirements.
With a minimum speed of 15 nautical miles per hour, the ferry is 165.4 meters long and 22.6 meters wide. Its main deck, built for a standard load of 4,200 tons, can hold a 40-car freight trainor a 18-car passenger train.
The ferry is gauged capable of safely navigating in gale-force winds, according to Yu Baojun, its chief designer.