Bullet train trialled on ‘path to heaven’
The trial run of a bullet train from Chengdu, Sichuan province, to Xi’an in neighboring Shaanxi province took about four hours on Wednesday morning, cutting travel time between the cities by about six hours.
The Xi’an-Chengdu High-Speed Railway is expected to formally open on Nov 30, said Xia Yongjing, an information officer for China Railway Chengdu Group. It will run on a daily basis, she said, and is designed for speeds of up to 250 kilometers per hour.The train passes through Deyang, Mianyang and Guangyuan in Sichuan, and Ningqiang and Hanzhong in Shaanxi.
Li Lin, a travel agency manager in Chengdu, said the opening of the railway is expected to give a shot in the arm to the tourism sector.
“Long before the trial run of the railway, quite a few people in Sichuan had told me they wanted to visit Xi’an after the railway’s formal opening to see the Terracotta Warriors and other sites of historical importance such as the Greater Wild Goose Pagoda and Daming Palace, and taste the famous mutton and bread soup,” Li said.
Sichuan began preparing an application for the path to be included on the UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage List, in 2015. In March, the application was sent to the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development for review. Construction of the path linking Sichuan and Shaanxi started around 316 BC. It was built on mountains so precipitous that Li Bai (701-762), one of China’s eminent poets, wrote: “Travelling on the Shu Path is as difficult as ascending to heaven.”