CHINESE Railways formally started construction on August 24 of the dedicated passenger railway between Qinhuangdao and Shenyang. The 422 km double-track line is due for completion in 2002, and will release capacity on the existing line for heavy freight trains.

The Shenyang line is designed for 160 to 200 km/h, but the technical feasibility study for the 300 km/h line between Beijing and Shanghai has now been approved by the State Planning Council. Chief Engineer Chen Yinxian says the idea is to run frequent short trains rather than fewer long ones; some stopping services would run at 160 to 200 km/h.

Plans are being drawn up for a 6·7 km tunnel to carry the high-speed line under the Changjiang river at Nanjing. Located at Shang Yuan Men, to the east of the existing bridge, this would have 1·9 km under water. Construction methods would harness experience gained in tunnelling Guangzhou Metro Line 1 under the Pearl river.

On September 1 CR’s Puzhen Rolling Stock Factory rolled out a double-deck inter-city diesel trainset capable of 180 km/h operation. The air-conditioned unit, formed of two power cars and nine trailers, with 1140 seats, was developed jointly with Qisuyan works and Shanghai Railway Administration. From October 1 it is due to enter service on a limited express shuttle between Nanjing, Shanghai and Hangzhou.

  • On September 7 CR announced the completion of the country’s longest rail tunnel. Costed at 1·9bn yuan, the 18·5 km Qinling tunnel is the centrepiece of the 268 km Xi’an - Ankang line due to open next year (RG 9.98 p611).