Test runs begin on high-speed line in Hubei

2022-03-03 09:14:41China Daily Editor : Hao Yunhui ECNS App Download

A test train runs on the Zhengzhou-Wanzhou High-speed Railway in Xiangyang, Hubei province, on Tuesday. (China Daily/Yang Dong)

A section of a high-speed railway line that will connect Central and Southwest China began test runs on Monday.

The 818-kilometer line, connecting Zhengzhou, Henan province, and Wanzhou in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing, will halve the travel time between the two cities to four hours. It is expected to open by June.

The section that started test runs is in Hubei province and connects Xiangyang and Badong. The 192-kilometer section, with a designed top speed of 350 kilometers per hour, will be the first to enter Shennongjia National Park, China Railway Wuhan Group, the regional railway operator, said.

It will allow people to travel from Wuhan, Hubei's provincial capital, to Shennongjia in about two hours.

Chen Dongdong, a civil servant who works in Shennongjia's administrative center in the town of Songbai, shared news of the test runs on his social media account.

"It will be much easier to visit my parents, who live in Xiangyang," he said.

Chen has to drive more than three hours to see them now but estimates it will take about half an hour to travel to Xiangyang by train.

A new highway connecting the township and the railway station is being built and is set to open to traffic before the railway line opens.

"Then I'll be able to drive or take a ride to the station and then take the bullet train home," Chen said, adding that the whole journey will take a little more than an hour.

Chen said the train will also bring more tourists to Shennongjia, boosting the development of local tourism.

The natural beauty of the national park, which features a large area of primitive forest, already attracts many tourists. But access via a mountain road is difficult and the weather can be unpredictable.

The Zhengzhou-Wanzhou line passes through mountainous areas in Shennongjia and the Three Gorges area in Chongqing, which both posed challenges to designers and those building the line.

The section from Zhengzhou to Xiangyang opened in 2019.

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