A bridge in the Dali-Ruili Railway which is under contruction. Online Photo
It takes RMB 300 to 500 million to build an airport with a 3-km runway, and the airport will be operational in around two years. In comparison, the cost of building railways through the mountains of Yunnan is around RMB 100 million per kilometer.It seems that developing civil aviation in mountainous regions is more cost- and time-effective. However, it fails to meet the need of mass freight transportation. The geographic advantages of Yunnan still have to be translated into economic growth by developing highway or railway transport, pointed out by Zhang Guangbin, an Associate Professor of Yunnan Normal University. The China-Myanmar Railway will allow freight transport directly from China to the Indian Ocean, greatly shortening transport distance by about 3,000 nautical miles compared with the route via the Strait of Malacca.
Right now, a railway from Dali City to Ruili City on Sino-Myanmar border is under construction. A branch line of the section from Mangshi to Houqiao, a Chinese port on Sino-Myanmar border has also been included in the Chinas Mid-and-Long-Term Railway Network Planning 2016-2030.
Yunnan has been establishing itself as a gateway linking China, South Asian and Southeast Asia. The China-Vietnam Railway traversing Yunnan has been operational since 2014. The China sections of other four international railways are also under accelerated construction. Among them, the 330-km Dali-Ruili line will pass by a number of key towns in the region with a design speed of 140 km/h.
The railway will make its way through the formidable Gaoligong Mountains with extremely complex geographic terrains and geological conditions. So it takes more time, introduced a local official.
The latest news show that the roughest tunnel project of the railway construction has seen surprising advancement, and the railway is expected to be commissioned as of 2021 based on the current construction speed.
A leading official from Yunnan Provincial Reform and Development Commission told us that Yunnan is going to invest around RMB 300 billion on railway projects in the coming five years.
An optional plan for the railway beyond Ruili may be extending it all the way to Houqiao Port, thus completing the China section of the international railway. Located 60 km to the west of the Chinese frontier city Tengchong, Houqiao is only 13 km away from the nearest Myanmar town.
According to the local development plan for the coming five years, Tengchong (Houqiao) Border Economic Cooperation Zone, with highway, railway and aviation networks available, will become an important functional hub in the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor.
The railway to Houqiao was included in Yunnans Mid-and-Long-Term Railway Development Plan passed by the provincial government last October. This project is expected to start in five years, which was also reaffirmed by a press conference on the interpretation of the transport infrastructure development plan of the province.
We are prepared for the project and look forward to seeing it included in the national plan, said a local official. (Yunnan Daily)
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