Workers pose for a photo when the intercity railway between Beijing and Xiongan New Area in north China's Hebei province begins to be built in Xiongan New Area on Wednesday. (Photo/CHINA DAILY)
Construction began on Wednesday for an intercity railway between Beijing and the Xiongan New Area in neighboring Hebei province, marking the beginning of major infrastructure construction in the area.
The rail line, which will stretch about 92 kilometers, is the first major transportation project involving Xiongan since its establishment in April, according to the contractor, Beijing-Shenyang Railway Passenger Transport Beijing-Hebei Co.
The railway will cut the travel time between the capital and Xiongan by more than 60 percent to about 30 minutes when it begins operation by the end of 2020, construction director Yang Bin said on Wednesday at the groundbreaking ceremony in Xiongxian county, where the terminus of the line will be located.
With an investment of 33.53 billion yuan (.3 billion), the rail line will have five stops from the southern Daxing district in Beijing, via Langfang in Hebei, to Xiongan New Area, according to the builder.
The five stations are: Huangcun; the capital's new airport in Beijing's Daxing district; Gu'an East Railway Station in Langfang, Hebei; Bazhou North Railway Station in Hebei; and Xiongan Railway Station.
Breaking ground in April, the section from the departure station to the new airport has a designed speed of 250 km/h, and will be put into use together with the new airport in September 2019.
The section from the new airport to Xiongan has a designed speed of 350 km/h.
The rail line will be the most convenient and efficient way to get from Xiongan to Beijing and the capital's new airport, according to a news release for the ceremony.
It will provide strong support for the transfer of noncapital functions from Beijing to Xiongan, it said.
The central government announced plans in April to establish Xiongan to help phase out noncapital functions in Beijing and to advance the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
Since then, preparation and planning for the new area has been in the works.
Several fundamental major projects should be initiated when appropriate to ensure a good start to the construction of the new area, Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said on Sunday at a meeting on advancing the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
According to the release, the new rail line will be linked with other high-speed lines, such as the planned Xiongan-Shangqiu line and Beijing-Guangzhou railway, to form a transportation network between Xiongan and other places in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, as well as other cities across the country.