CHINA: A new railway has been opened to connect the UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Town of Lijiang with the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, offering a less congested and polluting alternative to the existing road.


The 20·8 km Lijiang sightseeing railway was designed and built by China Railway Construction Corp, China Railway Group and Guangzhou Metro. It is envisaged as the first phase of a 90 km urban rail network and 10 km of guided bus route which are to be developed in Lijiang during the country’s 14th five year plan period (2021-25).


Construction of the high altitude line began in September 2020, and revenue services started on November 28. The project team had to cope with difficult geological conditions whilst seeking to protect the fragile ecology.


CRRC Zhuzhou has supplied six tailor-made three-car articulated EMUs, with a further 10 expected to follow. Designed for curves down to 50 m radius and steep gradients, they have electrical, hydraulic and magnetic braking and panoramic windows which can be electrically dimmed in strong sunlight.

Trains run at 70 km/h, offering an end-to-end journey time of 20 min.