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Urumqi-Lanzhou high-speed rail starts full operation

A bullet train made its maiden trip from Xining city to Lanzhou city in northwest China on Friday morning, marking the start of the full operation of Lanxin high-speed railway.

The Lanxin high-speed railway linking Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region's Urumqi with Xining, capital of Qinghai Province, and Lanzhou, capital of Gansu Province, slashes total travel time from more than 23 hours to 11 hours and 50 minutes.

The 1,776-km high-speed rail line, with a designed speed of 250 km per hour, is China's first high-speed railway built in a high-altitude region.

Construction on the Lanxin high-speed railway began in Jan. 2010, and the section between Urumqi and the eastern Xinjiang city of Hami has been operating since November 16.

The railway also reduces the travel time between Xining and Urumqi from 21 hours to 10 hours.

According to data from Xinjiang's development and reform commission, the new rail will increase annual freight volume of the old Lanxin railway to 150 million tonnes compared with 78.5 million tonnes in 2013.

The high-speed rail is expected to spur the growth of tourism, mining and trade on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the vast region of Xinjiang.


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