High-speed railway plans and new expressways connect province with cities across the nation
With construction beginning on a new high-speed railway, Shanxi province is to have another channel of rapid link to its neighboring provinces and municipalities.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Xiong’an-Xinzhou High-Speed Railway was held in the township of Shizui in the central Shanxi city of Xinzhou on Oct 1.Shizui is close to the renowned Wutai Mountain Scenic Area.
Secretary of the Shanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China Lin Wu, Shanxi Governor Lan Fo’an and other provincial and local officials were at the ceremony.
The new railway line will play an important role in connecting two important regional development programs in North China, said local officials.
Xiong’an refers to Xiong’an New Area in Hebei province. China announced plans to establish Xiong’an New Area on April 1,2017, to relieve Beijing of functions not essential to its role as capital. The new area also marks a crucial step in advancing the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
The city of Xinzhou is an important part of the Taiyuan-Xinzhou integration program, a recent move to build a city cluster and development hub in the center of Shanxi.
The urban integration program of the two cities was launched in 2021 by the Shanxi provincial government, according to the central government’s requirements.
In March 2021, the State Council released a guideline for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25). It requires Shanxi to foster a city cluster in its central region. The cluster is to host industries moving from Beijing and Tianjin municipalities as well as Hebei province, where an integrated regional development plan is in place.
Grasping this opportunity, the Shanxi provincial government proposed the development of Taiyuan-Xinzhou Integrated Economic Zone in the months that followed.
The zone officially opened on Dec 29, marked by the establishment of the Promotional Center for the Development of Taiyuan-Xinzhou Integrated Economic Zone.
The plan for the high-speed railway’s construction was proposed before the Taiyuan-Xinzhou integration program.
Early in 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission approved the construction of the Xiong’an-Xinzhou High-Speed Railway.
According to officials at the groundbreaking ceremony, the new line — with a total investment of 59.1 billion yuan ($8.22 billion) and a total length of 342 kilometers — will be the first in Shanxi to allow trains to travel at speeds of up to 350 kilometers per hour.
Starting from a tunnel near Shizui township, the Shanxi section of the railway will measure 122 km in length. Expenditure on the Shanxi section is to be 20.9 billion yuan.
The railway line will have 13 stations, with four in Shanxi. The Wutai Mountain Scenic Area is to be the first station in the province.
Officials said the project is scheduled to be completed in about four and a half years. Once the railway is completed, it will help spread the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region’s innovative resources, skilled workers, emerging manufacturing industries and modern service industry to the Taiyuan-Xinzhou Integrated Economic Zone.
According to an official at the Shanxi Provincial Department of Transport, the Xiong’an-Xinzhou High-Speed Railway will mark a milestone transport infrastructure project in Shanxi for the decade to come.
He said Shanxi currently has 6,274 km of railways, including 1,150 km of high-speed railways. The high-speed lines link all the nine major cities of Shanxi, as well as a great number of smaller cities and counties.
According to the official, about 2,000 km of expressways have been built in Shanxi province since 2012, bringing the total length to 5,763 km.
There is also substantial growth in ordinary highways to link the cities and the countryside in Shanxi.
With a boom in the construction of rural roads, 100 percent of villages in the province now have access to paved roads and couriers’ express delivery services, according to the official.
He added that three major sightseeing highways have been built in Shanxi for the three landmark tourist attractions of the Yellow River, the Great Wall and the Taihang Mountains. Connecting nearly 400 destinations, the three highways have played an important role in boosting the local tourism industry.
Seven cities in Shanxi have airports for civil aviation services. The cities are connected to 82 cities in the rest of the country and the world through 278 air routes.
By China Daily