Development of Railways

China railways experience three periods till now including Qing Dynasty, the Republic of China, and the People's Republic of China. But the Qing government held back the development of our railways.

I. For the period of Qing Dynasty

The first railway, Shanghai-Wusong, was built by British merchants in 1876. In 1881, the railway Tangshan-Xugezhuang (a town in Tangshan) allowed by Qing government, was built for coal transportation. It was the beginning of China railway development.

During 1876 to 1911, the length of railway totally was 9,100 km and Beijing-Zhangjiakou (in Hebei province) was the first one built by Chinese.

II. For the period of the Republic of China

For the period from 1911 to 1949, there was 17,100 km railway. And railways in mainland were expanded to 26,200 km together with that of Qing Dynasty.

But 3,600 km of them were damaged because of the war. When the People's Republic of China was founded the railway was just 22,600 km.

III. For the period of the People's Republic of China

After the founding of the People's Republic of China, Ministry of Railway was established to manager the whole railway.

In the period of Recovery of National Economy (1949-1952), railways of Chengdu-Chongqing and Tianshui-Lanzhou (Tianshui, a town in Gansu province) were open to traffic. Owing to the establishment of Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge in 1957, the railway from Beijing to Guangzhou was finished completely. It has been increased to 26,708 km until the end of 1958.

During the Cultural Revolution, the development of railway was disturbed. However, Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge and Zhicheng Yangtze River Bridge were still established. The railway was expanded to 46,262 km until 1976.

Since the Reform and Opening, the national economy develops at a high speed and a number of railways were set up, such as, Beijing-Qinhuangdao, Datong-Qinhuangdao, etc. And the railway reached 64,900 km until 1996.

According to Ministry of Railway , railways are expanded to 77083.8 km until the end of 2006.