China's new southern high-speed railway links over 50 tourist spots

BEIJING • A new high-speed railway linking more than 50 scenic spots in the Yangtze River Delta has started operations and experts said it will provide a new engine for the region’s economy.

The railway linking tourist hot spots such as Zhejiang province’s Hangzhou and West Lake, Anhui province’s Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) and the ancient village of Hongcun – all Unesco World Heritage Sites – welcomed its first passengers on Tuesday, China Railway Corp said.

The line will serve as a key tourism route and boost visitor numbers, as there are seven 5A-level scenic spots and overmore than 50 4A-level tourist attractions along the route, the company said.

China’s tourist attractions are graded on a scale of 1A to 5A by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, with 5A sites being the most important and best maintained.

With the railway providing more convenient access for people to visit attractions along the route, many travel agencies have begun promoting their high-speed train travel products to Huangshan and its surrounding scenic spots.

“We have had a great number of tourists enquiring about our three-day travel package,” said Ms Li Qiuyan general manager of Lvmama, an online travel agency based in Shanghai.

  • 265km Length of new high-speed rail line

    10 Number of stations on the line

    250kmh Top speed of trains travelling on the line

The delta region received about 1.8 billion visits last year, earning a total revenue of 3.16 trillion yuan (S$628.7 billion)(S$638 billion).

With the opening of the route and the popularity of the high-speed train, the tourism business along the rail line will surely experience huge growth, Ms Li added.

Construction of the 265km line began in 2014 and it has 10 stations, with trains travelling at a top speed of 250kmh. Travel time from Shanghai to Huangshan is only 2½ hours.

“I saw the news that the Hangzhou-Huangshan line began to sell tickets yesterday and I booked some immediately,” said Mr Li Jinbo, a 43-year-old resident of Hangzhou. “What a rare experience to see many beautiful sites in just 90 minutes and it onlycosts only 115 yuan for a second-class seat.”

Another high-speed railway linking the cities of Harbin and Mudanjiang in Heilongjiang province in north-eastern China also opened on Tuesday.The 293km line, built in a region where temperatures can fall as low as minus 40 deg C in winter, allows trains to run at 250kmh, according to the China Railway Corp.

CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2018, with the headline 'China's new southern high-speed railway links over 50 tourist spots'. Print Edition | Subscribe