High-speed rail to bring in new era for Chengdu after quake

08:19, May 13, 2010      

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A 65-kilometer high-speed railway linking Chengdu and Dujiangyan in Sichuan province went into operation Wednesday on the second anniversary of the 8.0-magnitude earthquake which left some 70,000 people dead.

The 13-billion-yuan project, the largest investment for Sichuan in post-quake reconstruction, started construction on November 4, 2008 and went into trial operation on April 1, 2010.

Going through one of Sichuan's most populated areas, the trains on this line run at a speed of up to 220 kilometers an hour at an interval of three to five minutes between 15 stations. One trip between the Chengdu and Dujiangyan takes 30 minutes.

Most of the high-speed railway was built over a bridge, with 37 viaducts totaling 44 kilometers, accounting for 67.8 percent of the railway's length.

Each of the viaduct's pier columns generally uses five tons of steel bars, while the line in Pixian county, which has the single longest viaduct of 21 kilometers, uses 50 tons of steel bars for each pier column. Each pier column also has 24 huge screws connecting it with the body of the viaduct to ensure the viaduct will stay intact through major earthquakes.

Trains running on the high-speed railway, which is made of seamless tracks, won't make as much noise as common railways. Acoustic panels along the railway are also expected to limit the noise to the lowest level, with the line in rural areas having transparent panels to let passengers view the rural scenery outside.

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