Yunnan may lack a comprehensive rail network today, but that should change drastically in the coming years, putting Kunming at the center of a web of provincial, regional and international rail links.
Provincewide there are currently 14 rail projects in various stages of construction. One of the first of these projects to be completed will be a key line linking the city of Yuxi (玉溪), 90 kilometers south of Kunming, with Mengzi (蒙自), in southern Yunnan's Honghe Hani Autonomous Prefecture.
Last weekend Kunming Rail Bureau officials told reporters that the Yuxi-Mengzi railroad (玉蒙铁路) will be operational before the end of 2012.
Construction of the 141-kilometer, 4.5 billion yuan (US$712 million) line began in December 2005. Earlier this month the line's 10-kilometer Xiushan Tunnel was completed, after six years of work by more than 1,000 people.
Kunmingers anxious to take a train directly to Mengzi for a bowl of its famous across the bridge noodles will have to wait — the old Kunming-Yuxi railroad (昆玉铁路) is currently being renovated, which means a bus trip from Kunming to Yuxi will have to precede the train ride.
The completion of the Yuxi-Mengzi railroad is key to Kunming's proposed rail link with Vietnam. Upon completion of the Kunming-Yuxi railroad and Mengzi-Hekou railroad (蒙河铁路) next year, passengers will be able to take a train from Kunming to Hekou (河口), on the border with Vietnam.
It is hoped that one day the rail line from Kunming to Hekou will be the northern end of the eastern trunk line of the Pan-Asian Railway (泛亚铁路) which will continue on through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia to its southern terminus in Singapore.
In addition to the eastern trunk line, the international rail network, whose projected completion date is up in the air, will have central and western trunk lines, all connecting Kunming with Singapore.
The central line of the Pan-Asian Railway will essentially shoot straight south from Kunming and will be composed of a Kunming-Yuxi-Jinghong line that continues on toward Mohan, Laos, before heading down Thailand to Malaysia and Singapore. There will also be a line branching off at Jinghong and running through Daluo (打落) on to Mandalay, Myanmar.
The Pan-Asian Railway's west line will head westward from Kunming to Dali and through Baoshan on to the border town of Ruili. There is also a planned branch line splitting off from Baoshan and passing through Tengchong (腾冲) to the city of Myitkyina in Myanmar.
In addition to the planned links with Southeast Asia, Kunming will also eventually have rail access to Lhasa via an extension of the Kunming-Lijiang railroad through Shangri-La. High speed rail lines to Chengdu and Chongqing are also being constructed, as is a line to Shanghai that will reduce travel time from 37 hours to less than nine hours.
Old Mengzi Station image: Tang Lei© Copyright 2005-2019 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.