A new high-speed railway linking Baoji, a city in Northwest China's Shaanxi province, and Lanzhou, the capital of neighboring Gansu province, opened on Sunday.
The new railway connects Northwest China's Gansu and Qinghai provinces as well as the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, which indicates the successful operation of the first high-speed railway along the ancient Silk Road.
It reduces the travel time between Xi'an and Lanzhou from eight hours to about three hours.
Work on the 401-kilometer high-speed railway began in 2012, and a number of engineering challenges had to be overcome as it runs through the Loess Plateau.
Building a high-speed railway across the plateau was not an easy task, due to the dry, erodible soil. Yuan Tao, project manager of the Gansu section of the Baoji-Lanzhou high-speed rail project of the China Railway Construction Corp, said it was "like building a high-speed railway on tofu".
More than 90 percent of the railway is elevated or run through tunnels.
Because the soil is prone to subsidence, a simultaneous observation system has been built to closely monitor the state of the soil.
The new railway is expected to promote the coordinated development among cities within a three-hour circle of Xi'an and so further enhance Xi'an's economic driving force in Northwest China.
The new rail line will also be conducive to China's poverty alleviation work in the undeveloped regions.
(Source: China Daily)