Ten new railways are being put into service to celebrate the new year. This will make high-speed railway services available for the first time in a dozen cities around China, including Fuxin and Chaoyang in Liaoning Province, Chengde in Hebei, Tongliao in Inner Mongolia, Mudanjiang in Heilongjiang, Rizhao in Shandong, Lianyungang and Yancheng in Jiangsu, Ya’an in Sichuan and most importantly for us, Lijiang in Yunnan.
What used to be a full overnight journey from Kunming to Lijiang has now been reduced to just 178 minutes. The travelling time from Dali to Lijiang has been cut down to a mere 50 minutes. The stations on the line are as follows:
Kunming South (昆明南站), North Guangtong (广通北站), Chuxiong (楚雄站), Nanhua (南华站), Pupeng (普棚站), Yunnan Yizhan (云南驿站), Xiangyun (祥云站), Dali East (大理东站), Dali Station (大理站), Lijiang (丽江站).
At the same time, with the rapid advancement of upgrading and renovation project of Lijiang Railway Station, it is expected to be completed by the end of this year. This will be just in time for the opening of the next high-speed train leg up in the Tibetan Borderlands. The bridge across the Tiger Leaping Gorge is now almost completed, but the line will still have to climb up to a breath-taking 3,400 metres at Shangri La.
In the meantime, the new train to Lijiang will certainly open up some of the province’s most beautiful sights. It is only a couple of hours from Lijiang to some of the impressive-taking locations in the Himalayas. These include the amazing views of the Jinsha River Gorge from Baoshan Stone Village perched above it on natural stone outcropping and the endless hiking opportunities inside the spectacular Laojunshan National Park. Also complete is new road to Lugu Lake, perhaps the only place in China that is more romantic than Lijiang Old Town.
To the south of Kunming, on the high-speed line to Mengzi, authorities will be introducing the new CR200J-type 160 km/h Fuxing EMU (Electric Multiple Unit). With a new bright green livery, it is quite different from the old green carriages that most of us are used to seeing. In fact, local rail fans have already nicknamed the train “The Hulk” and “The Jolly Green Giant.” While the Yunnan Hulk has only three pairs of carriages, its 17 pair super long version of the Fuxing EMU (long and long land flight) has a total length of 439.9 meters and a passenger capacity of 1,283 will be put into operation on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail, also from January 5th.