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download (8).jpg (Photo : Reuters)

The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China saw its first high-speed railway operation on Nov. 16. The new railway line, one of China's plans in promoting Silk Road, significantly reduces travel time between the eastern Hami City and Urumqi by half.

The new railway line spans 530 kilometers long and is equipped with trains that can run at a speed of over 200 kilometers per hour. It comprises part of the Lanxin high-speed rail line that measures 1,776 kilometers long which links Lanzhou, capital of Gansu, and Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur. The Lanxin railway line will be operational by the end of 2014.

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Xinjiang's rail line passes through the wide Gobi Desert and will be integrated with the country's network of high-speed railway lines.

According to the region's railway bureau, another high-speed rail line that links Beijing and Lanzhou is being constructed and is slated for completion by 2017. The new line will slash travel duration between Beijing and Urumqi from 41 hours to just 16 hours.

The first Lanxin rail line was originally the only track that connects Xinjiang to the rest of the provinces. Each year, it can transport only around 75 million tons, which does not meet the current standards for the growing passengers and freight demands.

The new Xinjiang line will focus on transporting passengers, while the old Lanxin line will be used for freight transports.

Deputy director Du Jiang from the China National Tourism Administration said that the promotion for traveling was to support the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Silk Road Economic Belt plans that were made by the country to encourage regional infrastructure and economic collaboration.