CHONGQING -- The first high-speed railway running through China's Three Gorges reservoir region started operation Monday.
At 7:06 a.m., the C6402 Train departed from Chongqing North Station, marking the operation of the 247-km-long railway, which connects Wanzhou City, where the Three Gorges is located, and Chongqing Municipality.
At the initial stage, 21 pairs of trains are scheduled every day between Wanzhou, Chongqing and Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province.
With a designed speed of 250 km per hour, high-speed trains on the line will cut travel time from four hours to one and half hours from Wanzhou to Chongqing. The travel time between Wanzhou and Chengdu is halved to three and half hours as the new line is connected to the section between Chengdu and Chongqing.
Construction of the railway started in 2013, with seven stations built. As the line traverses through the mountainous Three Gorges region, the added length of bridges and tunnels accounts for up to 71 percent of the total length of the railway.
Liu Zheng, an official with the Chengdu Railway Bureau, said the Chongqing-Wanzhou high-speed railway links China's southwestern part with the central and northern regions, which will help with development in the Three Gorges region as well as the Yangtze River Economic Belt.