New high-speed railway line to open in Liaoning

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A new high-speed railway line will open in northeastern China on Aug 3, improving rail network connections in the region and reducing travel times to Beijing, China State Railway Group, the national railway operator, said on Aug 2.

The 107-kilometer line, with a designed speed of 350 km per hour, links the cities of Chaoyang and Linghai in Liaoning province. It has four stations and will run at an initial speed of 300 km/h, China Railway Shenyang Group, the regional railway operator, said.

It will trim 50 minutes from the time taken to travel between Beijing and Dalian, a major coastal city in Liaoning, reducing the journey to just 4 hours. It will also cut travel times between Beijing and Jinzhou in Liaoning to 2 hours and 17 minutes, 35 minutes quicker than before.

The railway operator will initially schedule 22 services along the line.

The new line connects with the Beijing-Harbin High-Speed Railway and the Beijing-Harbin Railway, two important railways linking the capital and northeastern China.

China Railway Shenyang Group said the new railway is an important part of the high-speed railway network in the northeast and will greatly reduce travel times between Beijing and major cities in western and southern Liaoning. It will benefit residents along the railway and closely link coastal areas in northeastern China with the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. It will also play an important role in the revitalization of northeastern China, which used to be an important heavy industry base.

Because the railway line is in a cold area, the waterproofing of bridges was a key element of the project. Designers greatly enhanced the features of concrete to resist water in low temperatures, which helped build up experience in the construction of water-resistant bridges on high-speed railway lines in cold areas, said Zhao Changshi, the chief engineer of the line from China Railway Design Corporation.

Designers also carried out measures to reduce the impact of the seasonal freezing of earth on the line’s foundations to ensure its safe and smooth operation.

The latest smart technology was also adopted in building the line, Zhao said, with drones used to collect and analyze data.

China’s high-speed railway network has developed rapidly in the past decade. Since the first high-speed railway line, the Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway, opened in 2008, the network has expanded to 38,000 km, making it the longest in the world. More than 90 percent of cities with a population more than 500,000 have access to high-speed railways.

An increasing number of people are also choosing to travel by rail.

In the first half of the year, 1.37 billion trips were made by rail, up 67 percent year-on-year.