4 new rail lines to be operational in Xinjiang

China's far western Xinjiang region is to put four new railways in operation in its northern part by the end of this year, the regional government said Thursday.

The government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region announced the completion of the four railways and that the four rail lines will go into operation in succession before the end of the year.

The lines will for the first time link several cities, including Yili, Altay and Karamay in northern Xinjiang, with other parts of China and the Central Asia, regional government officials told a news briefing here.

Luo Jinbao, head of the Urumqi Railway Bureau, didn't give the exact timetable.

Luo said railway workers had managed to cope with potential geological disasters and made a detour of the lines for the purpose of protecting nature reserves and historic sites.

A rail line links Jinghe with land port Horgos and a second links Jinghe with Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang. The two cost a total of 8.8 billion yuan (1.3 billion U.S. dollars) and are 286 km and 381.5 km long, respectively.

The 468.5-km line connecting Kuitun to Beitun involved an investment of 5.5 billion yuan. The 264-km line linking Urumqi with Junggar cost 2.5 billion yuan.

(2009-11-06 source:china.org.cn)