CHINA: Work has been completed on the Yiwan Railway, paralleling the lake formed by the Three Gorges dam. Running through mountainous terrain to the south of the Yangtze valley, the 377 km east -west line links the city of Wanzhou east of Chongqing with Yichang in Hubei province via Lichuan and Enshi.
The route was proposed by Sun Yat-Sen in 1903 to shorten the rail journey between the mountainous regions in the southwest and eastern parts of China, but construction did not begin until 100 years later. The alignment includes 253 bridges and 159 tunnels, accounting for 74% of the route.
The line will form a key part of Chinese Railways’ emerging Chongqing – Wuhan – Shanghai corridor. Trains will initially reach Chongqing via the existing Wanzhou – Dazhou line, but completion of the 244 km Yuli line will create a direct route between Chongqing and Lichuan. With the opening of the Yiwan line, Chinese Railways expects to reduce Chongqing – Wuhan journey times from 22 h to just 5 h.