13 Sept 2016
High-Speed Rail Connects YRD and Central-Western Regions
Train services between the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region and central-western China have entered the high-speed era. Following the opening of the Zhengzhou-Xuzhou section of the Xuzhou-Lanzhou high-speed railway on 10 September, high-speed train service will commence between Shanghai and cities such as Zhengzhou, Xi’an and Taiyuan.
Initially, 55 pairs of bullet trains will operate on the Zhengzhou-Xuzhou high-speed railway, according to plans, ushering in a new phase of high-speed train services between the YRD region and China’s northwest. The travel time from Zhengzhou to Shanghai by the fastest train is expected to shorten from six hours forty-seven minutes to within four hours, while that from Xi’an to Shanghai will be reduced from ten hours forty-seven minutes to within six hours. This represents a leap from the “arrive-next-day” zone into the “half-day” traffic circle.
The Zhengzhou-Xuzhou high-speed railway, together with the Zhengzhou-Xi’an, Xi’an-Baoji and Lanzhou-Xinjiang lines already in operation, and the Baoji-Lanzhou link under construction, is set to form a new transportation corridor of high standard and capacity and an important part of the Eurasian land bridge. This corridor, in connection with existing high-speed railways such as the Beijing-Shanghai and Beijing-Guangzhou lines, will further enhance China’s high-speed railway network, and thus greatly narrow the gap between the western and central-eastern regions in terms of travel time and physical distance.
Industry players believe the opening of the Zhengzhou-Xuzhou line significantly reduces the travel time between the cities of Xi’an, Luoyang, Zhengzhou, Kaifeng, Shangqiu, Dangshan and the YRD region. This not only helps strengthen the ties between China’s central-western and eastern regions, but also accentuates the importance and supportive role of railway services in propelling “Belt and Road” projects and promoting regional tourism and economic development.