Yichang-Wanzhou railway put into operation

17:55, December 22, 2010      

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On Dec. 22, the No. 4806 train departs from the Enshi Railway Station in central China’s Hubei Province to Wanzhou, Chongqing. (Photo by people.com.cn)

On Dec. 22, the Yichang-Wanzhou railway was formally put into operation, marking a milestone in China's railway construction in dangerous mountain regions.

The Yichang-Wanzhou railway, which took seven years to complete, has a total length of 377 kilometers with a total investment of 22.6 billion yuan.

The Yichang-Wanzhou railway has a total length of 278 kilometers of bridges and tunnels as well as 34 pieces of steep karst tunnels.

The Yichang-Wanzhou railway is the most difficult railway in terms of the highest building cost per kilometer, and it has the longest construction period in China. It runs through China’s karst mountain regions, which are characterized by risky underground rivers and other adverse geology. It cost about 60 million yuan (9 million U.S. dollars) to build each kilometer of the railway, compared to Qinghai-Tibet Railway's 29 million yuan per kilometer.

Travelers once were expected to spend 22 hours on the train to travel to Wuhan from Chongqing, but now it will only take five hours to reach. Travel time from other eastern Chinese cities to southwest China will also be cut tremendously.

By Li Mu, People's Daily Online
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http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90783/91300/7239634.pdf