China opens world's longest high speed railway Dec 2012
TunnelTalk reporting
China has opened the world's longest, fastest high-speed railway line. At 2,298km long and running between Beijing and Guanzhou, the dedicated line links six of the most populated provinces of China and 28 of its largest cities. The service cuts journey time from the nation's capital city to its economic powerhouse in the south from 22 hours on existing train services, to just 8 hours on the sleek new state-of-the-art trains travelling at up to 350km/hr.

Beijing-Guanzhou line opens with 263 tunnels account for 221km on the 2,298km long service

To complete the line, a new length of 693km from Beijing is added to an existing line from Zhengzhou to Guanzhou and brings to a total high speed rail links in China to 9,300km. This comprises eight main lines, four travelling north-south and another four travelling east-west. The opening of the new line comes on the thrid anniversary of opening the first high-speed line from Beijing to Tianjin in August 2008 and only seven years from start of construction of that first line in July 2005.
The high speed trains on the Beijing-Guanzhou line are 16 carriages long and carry up to 1,028 passengers. 155 trains are to run on the line per day.
On all high-speed rail lines, tunnels and bridges play a vitally roll to maintain the flat, straight high-speed alighment across the topography. On a total of 6,032km of high speed railway in service by June 2011, when the Beijing-Shanghai service opened, some 734km ran through tunnels.
Tunnels on the new high-speed service
Our TunnelTalk correspondent in China reports that there are a total 263 tunnels related to the new high-speed railway.
Designed as double-track single-tube excavations, the 263 tunnels combine for a total length of 221km with an effective clearance of 100m2 above rail level. Among the many underground reaches, the longest mountain tunnel is the Dayaoshan Tunnel, located in Lechang County of Guangdong Province. The 10km long tunnel was excavated by drill+blast.
  • Portal of the Dayaoshan Tunnel

    Portal of the Dayaoshan Tunnel

  • Entrance to the Liuyanghe Tunnel

    Entrance to the Liuyanghe Tunnel

A second 10km long tunnel was designed to minimise the affect of high-speed rail services on the city centre of downtown Changsha city and under the Liuyanghe River. The tunnel was built as a combination of open-cut and drill+blast excavation.
For the route through downtown Shijiazhuang, the high-speed line runs parallel with existing rail lines. To avoid dividing the city, the set of six parallel lines was realigned underground in a total 5,110m length of open cut tunnels. The three-celled open cut excavation to accommodate three sets of double-track railway had a maximum width and depth of 54m x 22m respectively. During construction, excavation of the open-cut foundation pit was only 10m from the existing railway tracks that remained in operation throughout.
With several other high-speed rail lines in construction across the country, the programme is to have more than 25,000km of line in service by 2020 and the link of the Beijing-Guanzhou line into Hong Kong completed by 2015.
Drill+blast, predominantly, and TBMs, are on high-speed rail duty

Drill+blast, predominantly, and TBMs, are on high-speed rail duty

Opening of the new high-speed rail service brings it into competition with air services between Beijing and Guanzhou. By contrast with each other, the flight ticket is higher but makes the journey faster; the least expensive high-speed train ticket is at present 700 CNY (about US$ 112) one way, which is high for average earners, but for business travellers there is a train service every half hour and having decided to make the trip, it is a simple matter to turn up at the train station, buy the ticket and go.
The opening of the railway line today (26 Dec 2012) is another landmark achievement for China and confirmation of further commitment to modern nation wide rail infrastructure. In the meantime, Germany, France, Italy, Norway and the UK are expanding high-speed rail networks and the first dedicated high speed railway line in the United States is planned for California to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco.
High-speed railway development in China - TunnelTalk, July 2011
China's leading mega-project status - TunnelTalk, July 2011
Hong Kong begins massive express link to China - TunnelTalk, March 2011
Extra tunnels seal UK high speed rail approval - TunnelTalk, January 2012
TBMs will excavate the Oslo-Ski Follo Line - TunnelTalk, November 2012

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