CHINA: A major programme of modernisation, track doubling and construction of new alignments to increase speeds and capacity on the Chengdu – Kunming axis was completed with the departure of the first train over the upgraded Emei – Miyi section on December 26.

The programme is intended to support regional development by providing an enhanced route towards South and Southeast Asia as part of the Belt & Road Initiative.

‘Transport capacity is significantly increased, which will greatly drive the development of resources and economic development in the areas along the line’, explained Wang Wei, who led design work for the project at China Railway Second Institute.



Construction of the Chengdu – Kunming railway began in July 1958, and it opened throughout in July 1970.

China Railway Chengdu Bureau Group Co launched the enhancement project in 2010. The construction of new alignments including longer tunnels has shortened the route from 1 096 km to 915 km and raised the line speed from 80 to 160 km/h, cutting the end-to-end journey time from 19 to 7½ h. 

The line passes through areas with complex geology. The rebuilt route includes 11 major bridges and seven new tunnels of more than 10 km. The longest bore is the 21·8 km Xiaoxiangling tunnel, built over six years by China Railway Tunnel Bureau. There are 30 new and 18 modernised stations.