The past five years have seen an astonishing expansion in China’s high-speed railway system. More than 12 thousand kilometers of line have been built taking China to the top of the world rankings in terms of high-speed railway length.
Just a few days ago, a new high-speed rail line linking Baoji, in Shaanxi Province with Lanzhou, in Gansu Province in northwest China finished the construction phase and started testing.
The railway, which connects many poor regions, fills in a gap in the country’s rail system and brings new opportunities for local people, including the area’s many apple growers. Wu Zhengquan is one of them.
“These fields measuring almost four-square kilometres, belong to over 170 houses of our collaborative community. When the high-speed railway opens in July, we’ll be able to develop tourism here and earn far more money than we do now,” Wu noted.
Last December, a 2000-kilometer-long railway opened between Shanghai and Southwest China’s Yunnan Province. The new railway facilitates bullet train journeys to cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Hekunla is from the Pumi ethnic minority who live in the mountainous Nujiang region in Yunnan Province. She was among the first batch of passengers to take the newly launched high-speed train there.
“We are just super excited about the high-speed train. Our people have lived in the mountains generation after generation. While many people say they just want to go home, we feel the opposite, we want to go out and see the outside world,” she said.
For some urban cluster areas like the Yangtze River Delta, high-speed rail is speeding up trips between neighboring cities and is creating livelihoods covering different locations. For example, some people commute between cities using the high-speed train for work.
Currently, China’s high-speed rail line network measures 22 thousand kilometers, accounting for more than 60 percent of the total high-speed rail lines in the world.
And it’s still expanding rapidly. According to China’s latest rail plans, the overall high-speed railway will be extended to 30 thousand kilometers, covering 80 percent of big cities by the year 2020.
Special coverage on China's Two Party Sessions by The Daily Mail - People's Daily