China to Construct Longest Railway Tunnel in Asia

By | May 13, 2014 01:00 PM EDT

The construction of the Trans-Asian Railway Network, which will become the longest tunnel of its kind in Asia is scheduled to start in China in June, according to a senior railway expert.

The new railway network, the Gaoligong Mountain Rail Tunnel, which is over 30 kilometers long will link the southwestern province of Yunnan to Myanmar, according to Wang Mengshu, a railway and tunnel expert from the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

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This grand infrastructure project was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission.

Engineering experts and worker representatives had been consulted for this major construction project to devise techniques to counter possible challenges that the geological make-up of the area could pose. 

Engineering challenges posed by this project are similar in magnitude to those seen in the construction of railways in Tibet's permafrost.

Trains in the soon to be constructed railway can run at a maximum speed of 250 kilometers per hour in certain sections while speed limits in other sections will only be at 180 kilometers per hour, according to Wang.

Wang, who belongs to China's team of key planners of its high-speed railway projects said that another new project, the Nuijang River Rail Bridge is also set to start soon.

This bridge and the mountain rail tunnel will comprise the Dali-Ruili Railway, which will cover a total of 330 kilometers to connect China to its southwestern neighbor, Myanmar.

According to sources with reliable information from the China Railway Corp formerly known as the Ministry of Railways, three rail lines that will connect China to Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore will be constructed in the coming years.

Some initial work has been done on the projects which are all part of the country's medium term and long term railway network plans.

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