Lanzhou-Chongqing rail line, an 886-km long railway linking Lanzhou in northwestern Gansu Province and the southwestern metropolis Chongqing, officially opens to traffic today.
The new line cuts travel distance between the Lanzhou and Chongqing by about 650 kilometers and travel time from 21 hours to 12. It is also expected to cut the transportation costs by more than 70 percent.
The line will also integrate with existing railways. To the south, it connects with the Chongqing-Guiyang railway, forming a north-south artery. To the northwest, it will be integrated into the Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe railway, linking Chongqing with European countries.
Due to the complicated geographic conditions along the way, this project is said to be the most difficult one in China's rail history. A total of 226 tunnels and 396 bridges are required to pass through the mountains and rivers, most notably the Qinling Mountains. The line also traverses a host of fault zones.