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China's Miracle | The Three Gorges High Speed Rail

By ZHANG, GAOWEIALEX REPORTERFYXUANQI YUANICHONGQING|Jun 05,2022

Chongqing– If you weren’t aware, by the end of 2021, China had more than 40,000 kilometers of high-speed rail (HSR), the longest HSR network in the world. As China has proven in the past, it won’t let complex terrain get in its way. China has literally moved mountains and built bridges just to improve the speed of these rail lines. Can you imagine traveling through the Yangtze River Three Gorges mountains at a record speed of 350 kilometers per hour? This is the miraculous “Zhengzhou-Chongqing high-speed railway.”

The Zhengzhou-Chongqing high-speed railway starts from Zhengzhou City in the Henan Province, connects the existing Chongqing-Wanzhou Railway, and ends at Chongqing City. The total length of the line is 1063 kilometers. It is an essential part of China’s “eight vertical and eight horizontal” high-speed railway network. In the past, it took more than 20 hours for ordinary trains to travel from Chongqing to Beijing and more than 10 hours for high-speed trains. After opening the Zhengzhou-Chongqing high-speed railway, the duration will be compressed to about 7 hours.

The saved time is derived from a new line that is totally different from the past. The newly built section of this Railway in Chongqing goes through Wushan County, Fengjie County, Yunyang County, and Wanzhou District, namely the Three Gorges Reservoir Area. The topography of the Yangtze River Three Gorges Reservoir Area is complex and changeable, as well as the geological engineering conditions.

The construction of this line is full of challenges: the Chongqing section of the Zhengzhou-Wanzhou high-speed railway has 32 bridges with a total length of 10.8km. To reach the mountain city, the high-speed railway needs to pass through Wushan, Qiyueshan, and other huge mountains, so 27.5 tunnels with a total length of 169.7 km have been dug, accounting for 92.3% of the railway, which is named a high-speed railway with a “subway-style.” The proportion of bridges and tunnels in the Chongqing section of the Zhengzhou-Wanzhou high-speed railway is as high as 98%, currently the highest in China. However, in addition to bridges and tunnels, it also faces another challenge which is ecological and environmental protection.

Thanks to the engineers’ effort, after this essential high-speed railway is put into operation, the number of trains at each station will significantly increase, which will lighten the existing logistics channel’s capacity. The savings we can enjoy for our ordinary passengers are the time and the ticket fares. The opening of the high-speed railway will also profoundly impact the regional economy and the industrial adjustment in Chongqing, a mountain city located at the node of the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the “Belt and Road” Initiative.

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