New Chengdu-Kunming Railway Enters Service

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On Dec. 26, the new Chengdu-Kunming Railway is officially put into operation after ten years of arduous construction. The 915-kilometer line is electrified with a designed speed of 160 km per hour, linking Chengdu and Kunming and the travel time between the two cities will be shortened to 7.5 hours, while travel time between Chengdu and two other major cities along the way — Xichang and Panzhihua — will be slashed to 3 and 5 hours.

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At 14:00 on Dec. 24, the railway department began to sell new Chengdu-Kunming Railway passenger train tickets. The line starts in Chengdu, passes through Meishan, Leshan, Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture and Panzhihua in Sichuan, then enters Yunnan's Chuxiong Yi autonomous prefecture and ends at Kunming. 

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Initially, the railway department will run 4 pairs of trains between Chengdu and Xichang, as well as between Chengdu and Panzhihua every day, while 5 pairs of trains will be run between Chengdu and Kunming.

At the same time, from Dec. 26, Chengdu will also open a direct train to Xishuangbanna for the first time, further facilitating the travel of passengers. In the future, the railway department will continue to optimize the train operation plan according to the operation situation and market demand to meet the travel needs of passengers.


It is reported that the geography along the route is complex, and the line crosses rivers and mountains including the Minjiang, Dadu and Jinsha rivers and Mount Emei, which posed difficulties for construction. Engineers carried out intelligent surveying and made use of many tunnels and long-span bridges to overcome topographical challenges. In all, seven tunnels of more than 10 kilometers, including the 22-kilometer Xiaoxiangling Tunnel, and 11 bridges of more than 2 kilometers, have been built along the line. 

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The new line is the second route linking Chengdu and Kunming. The old Chengdu-Kunming Railway, which extends for 1,096 kilometers, opened in 1970, with a designed speed of 80 km/h. Due to the complex topography, it was once believed that some areas would be impenetrable to railways and the completion of the old railway was considered by foreign railway experts as one of the "three miracles symbolizing the conquest of nature in the 20th century".

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The line was an important strategic corridor and provided strong transportation support for economic and social development. However, with the increasing demand, the old line's capacity is no longer sufficient and so the decision was taken to build a second line linking Chengdu and Kunming.

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The new Chengdu-Kunming Railway is a key project for the large-scale development of China's western region, and is an important link in the railway corridor from China to Southeast Asia. The opening of the line has improved the railway network in the southwest, boosting railway transportation capacity. It will also greatly facilitate the movement of people and goods, boosting socioeconomic development in the region, facilitating rural vitalization and promoting opening up. 

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(Editors: Amy, Rachel)

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