Four trains linking Yichang with Shanghai and Guangzhou have been added to facilitate increased traffic through the Three Gorges Dam area as of Friday.
Travelers cruising the Yangtze via the Three Gorges Dam area are now forced to resort to land transportation since a man-made canal, the sole channel built for passage of ships during the second phase of the Three Gorges Project, was fully closed Wednesday. Navigation on the canal was stopped on Oct. 31.
As only a temporary ship lock is currently in operation, navigation around the Three Gorges Dam will be irregular until a permanent ship lock is finished in June next year.
However, 400,000 of the 700,000 passengers traveling downstream by boat from the upper reaches of the Yangtze, will have to alight and take a train from Yichang City, 40 km away from the Three Gorges area.
The newly added train services consist of a 19-hour Yichang-Shanghai round trip route and a route to and from Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province in the south, which takes 19 hours each way, said Zhang Shuangyou, a local railway company manager.
There are now 18 inbound and outbound train services at Yichang,the nearest city to the Three Gorges Dam, along with highway services, and travel via the Three Gorges Project area should not be affected much after the closure of the man-made canal, said Zhang.
A total of 63,000 passengers passed through the Three Gorges Dam area by land transportation in the first week of this month.
(People's Daily November 10, 2002)