(Redirected from Railways in China
- This article is on the rail transport in mainland China. See also Railways in Hong Kong, Railways in the Republic of China (Taiwan).
The rail transport in China is one of the largest in the world. With 70,058 km it ranks third. Because of the shared history with the Republic of China (Taiwan) until 1949, an historical overview of rail transport in China will be given here.
The first Chinese train rode in 1876 in Shanghai.
Total: 70,058 km (including 5,400 km of provincial "local" rails)
Standard gauge: 68,000 km 1.435-m gauge (18,668 km electrified; 20,250 km double track)
Narrow gauge: 3,600 km 0.750-m gauge local industrial lines (1998 est.)
Dual gauge: 22,640 km (not included in total) (2003)
Currently, China is being served by about twenty principal domestic railway routes.
Transrapid (a German maglev company, which has a test track in Emsland, Germany), constructed the first operational maglev railway in the world, from Shanghai to its Pudong airport. It was inaugurated in 2002.
There is an ambitious plan for more high speed rail by 2005.
Main article: Qingzang Railway
A 1,080-km (670-mile) section of the Qinghai-Tibet railroad is currently under construction from Golmud to Lhasa. It includes the now completed 3,345-meter Yangbajain No. 1 tunnel which is 4,264 meters above sea level and located 80 km NW of the regional capital Lhasa. The 815-km section from Xining to Golmud in Qinghai opened to traffic in 1984.
More than 960 kilometers, or over four-fifths of the railway, will be built at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters, and over half of it will be laid on frozen earth.
The railway's highest point, the Tanggula Mountain Pass , is 5,072 meters above sea level.
Thirty railway stations are to be built, among them Tanggula Mountain station, which at 4,500 m will be one of the highest-altitude railway stations in the world (after Cóndor station, at 4,786 m, on the Rio Mulatos-Potosí line, Bolivia, and La Galera at 4,781 m in Peru).
Rail-laying in Tibet was launched in double directions, towards Tanggula Mountain and Lhasa, at Anduo Railway Station on 22 June 2004. When the railway construction is complete (expected in 2005; signalling and track testing require another 6 to 12 months), it will be possible to travel from Lhasa to Beijing in 48 hours. The railway will later be extended to Xigaze (to the west) and Linzhi (Nyingchi, to the east).