A high-speed train runs on a rail line neighboring the construction site of bid 1 of the Shanghai Rail Transit Link Airport Express in Shanghai on Oct 12. The rail line links Shanghai Pudong International Airport with Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. (Photo/China Daily)
Major progress was achieved in the construction of the first high-speed rail link between Shanghai's Pudong and Hongqiao airports, as the project contractor said the girder installation of the project's bid 1 has been concluded in advance recently.
China Railway 24th Bureau Group Corp Ltd (CR24), a unit of State-owned enterprise China Railway Construction Corp, said its builders settled the last 32-meter box girder on a crossover above the Shanghai-Chongqing Expressway on Oct 12 — a month earlier than the scheduled completion date.
Lengthened by 2.2 kilometers, bid 1 of the Shanghai Rail Transit Link Airport Express is one of only two rail bridge projects of the high-speed rail link between the two airports. In addition, as its location nears the Shanghai-Kunming Railway, the project team was faced with challenges by additional adaptation work, such as ensuring minimum disruptions by the girder transportation to the neighboring rail line operation, CR24 said.
"Girder installation is the major part of the project and we conducted detailed research, especially that of the geological conditions and neighboring rail line timetables, to ensure smooth construction and rail operation on their respective right track," said Xue Fei, project manager with CR24.
Xue attributed the earlier completion of the installation to "perfectly coordinating the work between construction and adaption", and the flexible arrangements in accordance with changes on the construction site.
The project has now entered the track laying and setup phase of equipment support, he said.
With a total length of 68.6 km and a designated speed of 160 kilometers per hour, the Shanghai Rail Transit Link Airport Express starts from the Hongqiao transportation hub, passes through Pudong International Airport and extends to Shanghai East Railway Station.
Upon completion, the commute time between the two airports in Shanghai, which is supposed to be around 90 minutes if taking the city's metro service, will be shortened to less than 40 minutes.
The rail link will be connected to the national railway network as well, which will better facilitate the traffic of passengers and support the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region, Xue said.
To better facilitate trips between urban transportation hubs and boost connectivity with neighboring cities, major cities nationwide are ramping up efforts to upgrade the urban rail system.
Beijing, for example, started construction in 2019 on phase 1 of a rail transit line linking its two major airports — Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing Daxing International Airport. A station in Langfang in Hebei province is also included in the construction plan, according to information from the National Development and Reform Commission.
Completion of the rail line will shorten the commute time between the two airports to 45 minutes and save time from transfers for passengers taking the metro service in the capital.