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High-speed railway reaches China’s rugged southwest

Updated: Dec 26,2014 3:22 PM     Xinhua

A bullet train runs through a grand bridge in Foshan City, south China’s Guangdong province, Dec 26, 2014. The 857-kilometer high-speed railway linking Guiyang, capital of landlocked mountainous province of Guizhou in southwest China, with south China’s economic powerhouse Guangzhou, Guangdong’s capital, started operating on Dec 26. [Photo/Xinhua]

GUIYANG — The first high-speed train to operate on the recently finished Guiguang and Nanguang railways set off from the southwestern city of Guiyang on Dec 26.

The new high-speed railways will upgrade railway networks in southwest China’s Guizhou province, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and the south Guangdong province.

With a total investment of 125.9 billion yuan ($20.28 billion), and a construction time of 6 years, they will help service 192 million people across the three provinces.

A bullet train bounding for Guiyang is seen at the Guangzhou South Railway Station in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong province, Dec 26, 2014. The 857-kilometer high-speed railway linking Guiyang, capital of landlocked mountainous province of Guizhou in southwest China, with south China’s economic powerhouse Guangzhou, started operating on Dec 26.[Photo/Xinhua]

The 856-km Guiguang high-speed rail line reduces travel time between Guiyang, capital city of Guizhou province and Guangdong’s capital city of Guangzhou from 21 hours to 4 hours and 9 minutes.

The 574-km Nanguang high-speed railway, a section of Guiguang railway, slashes travel time between Nanning, capital city of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and Guangzhou from 13 hours to 3 hours and 19 minutes.

Li Shengming, a passenger of Train D2805, is heading for Guangzhou for an eight-day trip. A senior at Guizhou University, Li regularly uses train when traveling between the two cities. He says it used to take more than 20 hours.

A bullet train runs through a bridge in Congjiang County, southwest China’s Guizhou province, Dec 26, 2014. The 857-kilometer high-speed railway linking Guiyang, capital of landlocked mountainous province of Guizhou, with south China’s economic powerhouse Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, started operating on Dec 26.[Photo/Xinhua]

“It took almost a whole day. Jammed in the full-packed carriage. It was really a tough journey,” Li said. “With the high-speed train, however, the journey now only takes less than five hours. It’s unbelievable.”

The train set off from Guiyang North Railway Station at 9 am and is expected to arrive in Guangzhou at 2:47 pm with seven stops altogether. The train, loaded to capacity, will pass through the mountainous regions of Guizhou, crossing through tunnels and passing by several ethnic villages.

A bullet train runs in Congjiang County, southwest China’s Guizhou province, Dec 26, 2014. The 857-kilometer high-speed railway linking Guiyang, capital of landlocked mountainous province of Guizhou, with south China’s economic powerhouse Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, started operating on Dec 26.[Photo/Xinhua]

Passengers cheered when the train reached 250 kilometers per hour, its top speed.

Madam Hu, 68, who is traveling with her friends, took a picture of the speed display with her cell phone.

“This is a historic moment for the people of Guizhou. It’s the first high-speed railway linking Guizhou, my hometown. I have been looking forward to this moment since construction began,” said Hu.

Meanwhile, another bullet train is traveling from Guangzhou to Guiyang.

The high-speed rail is expected to boost development of tourism, manufacturing and agriculture in the region.

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