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1st east-west rail in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei corridor nears completion

Wang Wei and Zhang Yu
Updated: Oct 24,2015 10:27 AM     China Daily

A new railway connecting two major cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei corridor has entered its final test period and will be put into operation in December, the Beijing Railway Bureau announced recently.

The railway linking Tianjin and Baoding in North China’s Hebei province will shorten the travel time between the two cities from three hours to less than one hour.

Testing and work to upgrade the railway tracks, communications network and signals will be completed before December.

The 157.8-km-long railway starts at Tianjin West Railway Station in the east and ends at Xushui Station in Baoding in the west.

“It is the first east-west bound line in the areas of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei,” said Chen Zhao, an official of the railway bureau that administrates major railway lines in North China.

“Although the line is not as long as the north-south bound lines, like the one linking Beijing and Guangzhou, which spans more than 2,000 km, it can link them together,” Chen said.

Other major north-south rail lines in the region include the routes linking Beijing-Shanghai, Beijing-Tianjin and Tianjin-Qinhuangdao, Chen said.

It soon will be quicker and more convenient for residents to change trains at the intersection of the new line and the north-south bound trains.

Other cities in the region will also benefit from the new line. Travel time between Tianjin and Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei, will be cut to less than 1.5 hours from the current four hours, by taking a Shijiazhuang-Baoding high-speed train, which takes 35 minutes, and the new Bao-ding-Tianjin line, which takes about 40 minutes.

“It will bring so much convenience to people like me,” said Zhang Huan, a Baodinger who works in Tianjin and regularly commutes between the two cities. “Beijing is easy to get to, but going to Tianjin has always been a headache for me.”

The integration of transportation in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region has sped up since last year, when the region’s integrated development strategy rolled out.

The railway plan for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region includes 24 intercity rail lines by 2050, with a total length of 3,453 km, according to a report by the Third Railway Survey and Design Institute Group Corp.