In 1949, there were only 21,800
km of railway lines in China, with only 11,000 km opened to traffic.
Between 1979 and 1999, newly constructed lines opened to traffic
reached 17,919 km, of which electrified lines totaled 11,783 km.
In 1999, the length of railway lines opened to traffic reached 57,900,
a 19.1 percent increase over 1978.
There are north-south and west-east
trunk lines in China. The north-south line, with Beijing as its
hub, consists of the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway, Beijing-Shanghai
Railway, Beijing-Kowloon Railway and Beijing-Harbin Railway. The
west-east line, with Zhengzhou as its hub, consists of the Lianyungang-Lanzhou
Railway and Lanzhou-Urumqi Railway. The latter has been extended
westward to link up with the railways in Kazakhstan. Thus Asia and
Europe are linked by railways from Lianyungang in China to Rotterdam
in Holland. New railway lines have been built in mountainous areas
in southwestern China, mainly the Chengdu-Chongqing Railway, Baoji-Chengdu
Railway, Chengdu-Kunming Railway and Nanning-Kunming Railway. Besides,
the Turpan-Kashi Railway has been newly built in the Xinjiang Uygur
workers hard at work on the electrification of the Shizuishan-Zhongwei
section of the Baotou-Lanzhou Railway line.