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The Lijiang-Shangri-La Railway: A New Era in Yunnan's Connectivity

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The Lijiang-Shangri-La Railway (丽香铁路), a significant addition to Yunnan Province's transportation network, opened its tracks to the public on November 26. This modern marvel connects the historic city of Lijiang with the culturally rich Shangri-La, traversing 139 kilometers of Yunnan's diverse and enchanting landscapes.

The journey from Shangri-La to Lijiang, which previously took several hours by road, is now dramatically reduced to just one and a half hours, with a further connection to Kunming in approximately four and a half hours. This railway, part of the larger Yunnan-Xizang Railway project, stands as a testament to the region's commitment to enhancing accessibility while preserving the natural beauty of its surroundings.

In its construction, the Lijiang-Shangri-La Railway presented a formidable challenge, originally starting in 2014 and taking nine years to complete with the efforts of around 20,000 workers. The route includes 34 new bridges and 20 tunnels, illustrating the complex engineering feats required to navigate the province's varied terrain.

This railway is more than a transportation line – it's a catalyst for socio-economic development, particularly in the ethnic minority areas it traverses. By improving accessibility, it aims to foster national unity, support border stability, and contribute to Yunnan's high-quality development.

Environmental stewardship was a cornerstone of the project. The construction team implemented rigorous ecological standards, establishing eight sewage treatment stations and numerous sedimentation tanks to protect the region's precious water sources. Additionally, significant efforts in green planting and wall support were undertaken to minimize the environmental impact.

The Lijiang-Shangri-La Railroad opens a new chapter in Yunnan's history, offering a seamless blend of cultural exploration and scenic splendor, while setting new standards in sustainable infrastructure development. As it begins its operations, this railway not only connects destinations but also bridges communities, enriching the social and economic fabric of the region.

The railway offers two high-speed train services daily from Lijiang to Shangri-La. The first train departs at 8:00pm, arriving at 9:18am, for 49 yuan per trip. The second leaves at 3:33pm, reaching its destination at 4:54pm, for 63 yuan per trip. From Shangri-La to Lijiang, there are three daily services. The first at 10:30am, arriving at 11:51am for 63 yuan, the second leaves at 1:38pm and arrives at 3:11pm, also at 63 yuan, and the third at departs at 5:50pm, arriving at 7:12pm for 56 yuan. These services provide a convenient and cost-effective way for travelers to explore the stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage of the region.

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