CHINESE Prime Minister Li Peng attended a ceremony at Baise on March 18 to mark completion of tracklaying on the 898 km Nanning - Kunming line linking the southwestern provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan. Revenue services on the electrified route are expected to begin by the end of the year, with initial capacity put at 10 million tonnes a year.

Started in 1991, the line includes 258 tunnels totalling 195 km and 476 bridges stretching for 80 km. It also takes the records for China’s highest bridge and longest single-track tunnel: the Qingsuihe bridge with a 128m main span carries the rails 183m above water level, and the Mihualing tunnel is 9392m long.

A major boost to CR services will come with the construction of 40 three-phase electric freight locos for the mountainous 670 km Baoiji - Chengdu line. At the beginning of April China’s Minister of Railways Han Zhubin signed a financing agreement with the Austrian government covering a technology-transfer contract with Siemens-SGP Transportation Systems.

The eight-axle ’twin’ locos will have a starting tractive effort of 760 kN and a continuous rating of 6400 kW. They will incorporate technology from ÖBB’s Class 1012 and 1014 Bo-Bos, together with water-cooled GTO thyristors and Sibas 32 control systems from DB’s latest Class 152 freight locos. SGP is to build the first six locos in Graz and provide technical support for local assembly of the remainder using components from Austria and Germany. The first locos are due for delivery 24 months after the start of construction. o

CAPTION: Undergoing trials on the China Academy of Railway Sciences’ test track in Beijing is China’s first locally-built 25 kV 50Hz electric loco with asynchronous three-phase traction motors. The AC4000 Bo-Bo assembled at Zhouzhou Electric Loco works is intended to haul up to 5000 tonnes at 120 km/h. It is rated at 4000 kW and has a starting tractive effort of 325 kN; a four-quadrant traction converter with PWM inverters allows regenerative braking. Overall length is 19160mm and weight 96 tonnes. Future evaluation may include commercial tests on the Da-Qin heavy haul coal line