Fast trains come to remote regions

13:19, December 31, 2010      

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A fast train runs on an intercity railway linking Jilin city, in Northeast China's Jilin province, and the provincial capital Changchun city on Thursday. (Photo: China Daily)

Two new fast train services opened in the country's most southern and northern areas on Thursday, enabling more people to enjoy the convenience of the world-class technology.

On the tropical Hainan island, a 308-kilometer-long railway links cities along its east coast. Trains on the line travel as fast as 250 km an hour.

The railway will cut travel time between the province's capital city Haikou and Sanya, a famous tourist destination, to 90 minutes.

It used to take more than four hours by bus, said 71-year-old woman Wang Yuxiao, who was among hundreds of passengers standing in zigzag lines in front of ticket windows at Haikou railway station to buy tickets to visit her relatives.

The province will start building a 344-km-long line on the island's west coast to form a loop railway, the provincial government said in a news release.

The high-speed railway will be crucial to Hainan's plan to become an international tourist destination, it said.

On the same day, the snow-covered northeastern province of Jilin has embraced its Changchun-Jilin intercity railway.

A train traveling at 250 km an hour carried officials and media representatives from Changchun, capital of Jilin province, to Jilin city in less than 30 minutes. Rail trips between the two cities used to take 90 minutes.

The 111-km line is the first intercity railway in Northeast China. It has attracted wide attention, as people worried about whether the trains could operate safely in temperatures as low as -40 C, local media reported.

Railway experts said the line will see fewer glitches than the 250 km-an-hour rail service launched in 2007 linking Beijing with Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, which reportedly had a number of incidents in which trains suddenly stopped operating.

"Thanks to the experiences of the past three years, improvement has been made to the trains' heat insulation and air-proofing performance," said Liu Changqing, chief designer of CRH5, which will be used on the line.

"The new line's operation will be trouble free," he said.

Passengers will be able to enjoy the service from Jan 11, with a ticket costing 37 yuan ($5.6).

Also in Northeast China, workers on a 350 km-an-hour rail line linking four major cities finished laying tracks on Tuesday. The 904-km line is expected to open next year.

Source: China Daily
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