First 350-km/h high-speed train traverses China's mountainous Guizhou

(Xinhua) 09:08, August 09, 2023

GUIYANG, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- A Fuxing bullet train, with a designed speed of 350 km/h, departed on Tuesday morning from the southwest Chinese city of Guiyang, marking the operation of the Guiyang-Libo section of the Guiyang-Nanning High-speed Railway.

As one of the most typical areas in the world for karst landform development, mountainous Guizhou Province, of which Guiyang is the capital city, witnessed the miraculous journey of the train through its high mountains and steep valleys.

With one tunnel after another, one bridge after another, the light inside the carriage flickers. After more than six years of construction, the railway of Guiyang-Libo section takes passengers on a remarkable journey with rapid transition of scenes outside the window.

The Guiyang-Nanning High-speed Railway links Guiyang Province and south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, of which Nanning is the capital city. The Guiyang-Libo section has 86 bridges and 62 tunnels, while the mileage of bridges and tunnels accounts for 90 percent of the total mileage.

Among the first passengers of the train was 74-year-old Xu Jiyou, a retired railway worker. Xu and his wife were taking the trip in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary, enjoying a unique sense of romance.

"We put in effort and sweat, dedicating our youth to the railways," Xu said. Back in those working years, there were only the green-painted slow trains for them to board in the country. But now, they ride the high-speed rail, which is convenient and comfortable.

Another passenger, 37-year-old Yang Shengquan, took out his phone to take pictures. "Look, that's our village," he exclaimed with excitement.

Yang, a resident of Lianmeng Village in Bouyei-Miao Autonomous Prefecture of Qiannan of Guizhou, captured this moment with pride. "The high-speed rail passes by our doorstep, and our village has made its share of contributions," he said. Many of his fellow villagers worked on the construction project, and they also made way for the railway with land requisition and house demolitions.

Facing complex geological conditions in the southwestern mountainous areas and a high degree of karst development, the construction team overcame numerous difficulties, including ecological protection and tourist attraction conservation.

Standing before a map, Long Zongming, chief designer of the Guiyang-Nanning High-speed Railway, told Xinhua the railway traverses the Yungui Plateau slope area with many mountains, an abundance of water, and many attractions.

The current terminal station of the train is Libo County, which boasts two impressive titles, namely the world natural heritage site of South China Karst and the reserve under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme. As one of the counties with the richest tourism resources in Guizhou, 57 attractions are located here, including the Xiaoqikong scenic spot.

Ecological protection is Long's major concern. When passing through the world's natural heritage site, the high-speed rail line only goes through the buffer zone of the Maolan national nature reserve in Guizhou. Also, efforts were made to minimize the impact during construction.

Now the railway itself has become a new scene while facilitating travelers.

"It used to take at least two days to arrange a trip, with an overnight stay. Now, it can be done in a day," said Luo Jia, a tour guide from Guizhou, who was leading 52 tourists to the Xiaoqikong scenic spot. The travel time from Guiyang to Libo has been reduced from over 3 hours to 57 minutes.

"It's not just a major transportation artery but also a golden tourism channel," said Ding Yi, executive deputy head of Bouyei-Miao Autonomous Prefecture of Qiannan, who noted that the opening of the Guiyang-Libo section will have a significant impact on the entire prefecture, boosting the overall economic output, driving regional tourism, influencing the transportation pattern, and enhancing regional cooperation.

Data shows that Libo County has received over 14 million visitors this year, a year-on-year increase of 42.03 percent, and total tourism revenue reached 13.7 billion yuan (about 1.89 billion U.S. dollars), a year-on-year increase of 47.37 percent.

Guizhou has mapped out plans to transform Libo into a world-class tourist destination. "With the combination of various favorable policies and the opening of the high-speed rail, we are more confident in promoting Libo's tourism," Ding said.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Wu Chaolan)


Related Stories