The first whole-way trial operation of the high-speed railway linking Xi’an, the capital of Northwest China’s Shaanxi province and Chengdu, capital of Southwest China’s Sichuan province is carried out on Nov 22, with two electric multiple unit trains departing from each end at the same time.
The construction of the 643-kilometer passenger line started in October 2012. It is expected to go into operation within this year and will be the country’s first high-speed rail to pass through the Qinling Mountains — the natural boundary between China’s north and south.
More than half of the route is tunneled, most especially the section in the Qinling Mountains, posing a great challenge for engineers.
Trains will run at about 250 kilometers per hour, which will slash the travel time between the two cities from 16 hours to just three. Meanwhile, this line will be the first high-speed railway operating in mountains in China to have 4G network coverage the whole way.
What’s also worth noting is how ecological protection was brought into consideration during the rail’s construction.
The route passes through the natural habitats of some rare animals, including giant pandas, snub-nosed monkeys, crested ibis and takins. So targeted measures have been taken to minimize the impact to these areas. For example, a kind of special protective screening about 30 kilometers long and four meters high has been installed to protect the ibis. It all shows how infrastructure construction can work in harmony with environmental protection.
The Xi’an-Chengdu high-speed railway is an important part of the country’s railway network under construction. It is expected to serve as an important belt linking China’s northwestern and southwestern regions.