The Wushaoling tunnel railway, the longest of its kind in Asia, opened to traffic on Thursday in China's northwestern Gansu Province.
The 21.05-kilometer-long tunnel railway, which is more than 2,400 meters above sea level, is a key project for the Asia-Europe Land Bridge's 3,651-km-long section from Lianyungang in east China to Urumqi in northwest China.
Designed to allow speeds of 160 km per hour, the tunnel railway has shortened the distance between Dacaigou and Longgou, part of the long section, by 30.4 km.
The right tunnel railway line (the west to east direction) opened on Thursday and the left line (in the opposite direction) will be opened in October. They will provide a significant boost for transportation between China's east and west regions, a top Chinese railway official said.
The operation of the tunnel railway will also help ease the cargo and passenger transportation pressure on the Asia-Europe Land Bridge, the cheapest and fastest Asia-Europe land rail route, which starts from Lianyungang and goes westward to its terminal at the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the official said.
(Xinhua News Agency March 31, 2006)