High-speed railway opens between Beijing & Zhangjiakou for 2022 Winter Olympics

A high-speed railway opened on Monday between China’s capital Beijing and Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province, the two host venues for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

The 174-km long railway line, a major project for the Beijing Games, will shorten the trip between the two host cities from over three hours to only 47 minutes, according to the China Railway Corporation.

It will be the world’s first high-speed railway on which self-driving trains can reach speeds of up to 350 kilometers per hour.

“Now, the drivers only need to push a button and the system will automatically speed up, slow down, stop and open the passenger doors,” said Liu Chunyu, a high-speed train driver.

World-leading high-tech

Dubbed as China’s first “intelligent high-speed railway line,” the Beijing-Zhangjiakou line features not only self-driving, but also intelligent modules including automatic lights and the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System.

And there are also 2,718 detectors on a train’s single carriage that can detect the train’s operations comprehensively, according to Hu Suoting of the China Academy of Railway Sciences.

The train is also designed with an area to store snowboards, a device to secure wheelchairs, and a mobile news center, where passengers can watch live Olympic broadcasts.

“We want to integrate high-speed train with various new technologies, like cloud computing, internet of things, big data and artificial intelligence, and make passengers feel at home,”  Zhang Bo, another researcher from the academy, said.

The line has 10 stations, five in Beijing and the others in Hebei Province. They include one at the Badaling section of the Great Wall, and it has the world’s deepest railway station structure at 102 meters underground.

There’s also one at Taizicheng, which is close to the podium of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Zhangjiakou’s Chongli District, also home of the Winter Olympic village.

All the stations are equipped with smart devices, robots and 5G networks for the convenience of passengers.

Tickets sales began Saturday on the corporation’s website and app. 

“The service here is good. And Chongli has one of the best ski resorts in China. So, this line is very convenient for me to get there,” a passenger said.

Salute to a century ago

The line runs parallel to the old Beijing-Zhangjiakou railway, the first line ever built by Chinese track workers 110 years ago.

Experts say Monday’s inauguration salutes the nation’s builders, and this process is the culmination of Chinese high-speed trains in terms of intelligent manufacturing, construction and operation, and lays a solid foundation for the future.

Bigger purpose

According to Zhu Dianping, an official from China Railway Beijing Group, the line will eventually link Beijing with a great portion of northwest China.

“Today, the line also begins to connect major cities in Inner Mongolia and Shanxi province to the high-speed railway loop in Beijing-Tianjin-and-Hebei province,” Zhu said.

Construction of the railway started in 2015, with test runs finishing earlier this month.

Chongli railway, a branch line of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway, also started service on Monday. It is 53-km long, with a maximum design speed of 250 kph.

Source: CGTN                                                                        Update: December 31, 2019