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Train-Ferry Links Guangdong and Hainan
A train-ferry service across Qiongzhou Straits in south China will be formally launched on December 28 this year.

The ferry service is part of China's first cross-sea railway route beginning at Zhanjiang City in Guangdong Province, in the north, and ending at Sanya City on the southern tip of Hainan Province after crossing the Leizhou Peninsula and Qiongzhou Straits, and joining the existing railway line at Chahe on Hainan's west coast. The straits separate Hainan Island from the rest of the Chinese mainland.

A ferry specially built for the route is now in the final stages of debugging after four days of sea trials on the East China Sea, according to Yu Baojun, its designer-in-chief.

The tests had proved the ferry, the first of its kind ever built in China, had met all design requirements, with a maximum sailing speed of 16.36 km per hour, said Yu who works with the China Shipping and Marine Engineering Design Institute.

The ferry, 165.4 meters long and 22.6 meters wide, weighs 12,400 tons and has a carrying capacity of 4,200 tons. Its main deck is capable of loading 40 cargo carriages or 18 passenger carriages with 1,360 passengers.

It has passenger cabins, and is also installed with such equipment as black boxes capable of recording 72 hours' data, two radar systems and two emergency escape shutes. The ferry is designed to safely withstand stiff gales on the straits.

According to Yu, the building of another similar ferry is nearing completion. This new vessel will be ready for service in April 2003.

(Xinhua News Agency November 20, 2002)

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