China’s Yunnan province will speed up construction of the Trans-Asian Railway within the province and aims to complete a railway network connecting China with Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.
“Our goal is to build a modern railway network that could connect the provincial capital, Kunming, with the bordering nations in five hours and neighboring provinces within eight hours,” said Wang Gengjie, general manager of China Railway Kunming Group Co.
Yunnan, in Southwest China, is the center of the Trans-Asian Railway, which is a project to create an integrated freight railway network across Europe and Asia.
As a deputy to the 13th National People’s Congress, Wang revealed during the two sessions that all the construction work connecting China with Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar is speeding up and expected to be finished by 2021.
Under the current plan, the cross-border railway network will mainly serve freight trains for commercial trade, according to Wang.
The Kunming-Hekou Line connecting Yunnan’s capital to the border with Vietnam now has two types of train tracks with different gauges.
The one-meter-wide single track, which matches the track size in Vietnam, has been used for decades and now serves freight trains.
In 2014, the bureau adopted new technology to successfully transform the track size into a wider one, and the one-meter-wide old track still can be used.
The wider track increased the train speed and cut the traveling time from Kunming to Hekou from 18 hours to only six.
“The cargo capacity improved from about 270 metric tons to nearly 4,000 tons with the technology. It has boosted economic development both at home and abroad,” Wang said.
Construction of the China-Laos Line, the 414-kilometer railway linking Kunming and Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is underway and the line will begin operation by 2021, according to Wang.
Wang said the other two lines-the Dali-Lincang Railway and the Dali-Ruili Railway-aiming to connect with Myanmar and other Southeast Asian countries are also under construction.
In addition, construction of the two lines’ shared part-the 200-kilometer-per-hour Guangtong-Dali railway-is expected to be completed in July this year, Wang said.
According to Wang, the designed operating speed of railways linking those three countries varies from 120 to 200 km/h.