China has opened a high-speed rail line linking the capitals of the northwestern province of Xinjiang and neighboring Gansu.
State broadcaster CCTV reported that a bullet train took off from Gansu’s capital of Lanzhou early on December 26, while another train left Xinjiang’s capital of Urumqi two minutes later.
The Lanxin Railway line is nearly 1,800 kilometers long and its trains are designed to travel at a maximum speed of 250 kilometers an hour.
Completion of another high-speed line linking Beijing and Lanzhou in 2017 will cut train travel times between the Chinese capital and Urumqi from 41 hours previously to just 16.
President Xi Jinping has spelled out plans to open western China and build a network of land routes and maritime lines that would connect China to its Central and Southeast Asian neighbors.