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Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway, the first high-speed railway majority-owned by private investors in China, put on trial run

At 8:22 a.m. on 26 November, the high-speed train which was bound for Taizhou with the journey number of G5501, departed from Shaoxing North Station in its first trial run. This marked the beginning of a trial operation of the Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway, China’s first high-speed railway which is majority-owned by private investors and whose construction had been initiated by a consortium of private investors led by Fosun. The countdown to the official opening of the railway thus started.  

In the trial run of the Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway, which was based on the testing and coordination of all the sections of the railway by the country’s railway administration against the benchmarks for the routes, parametric tests for the running of the trains, simulated accidents, emergency drills and the scheduling of the arrivals and departures of the trains were conducted. The adaptability and stability of the entire railway system under the normal and extreme conditions and during the simulated equipment failure were overhauled to ensure that it would meet the requirements for the normal operation throughout the whole route. The test results served as the base for a scientifically formulated plan for the transportation.

The trains of the Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway that underwent the trial run was basically the same as those to be officially put into operation. The only difference between them was that the trains in the trial run engaged in simulated passenger transportation. The Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway is expected to meet all the requirements for its official launch by the end of the year.   

The Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway is one of the first eight exemplary railway projects funded by private investors in China. It is also the country’s first high-speed railway that is majority-owned by private investors. On 11 September 2017, a private investor consortium led by Fosun signed an agreement with Zhejiang Provincial Government to invest in the railway. According to an approved feasibility report, the railway project called for a total investment of RMB44.89 billion and a registered capital that was equal to 30% of the total investment. The private investor consortium took a 51% equity stake in the project which served as a model for private investment in high-speed railways in China.

The construction of the Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway started in December 2017. All the parties who were undertaking the construction put the quality of the work first, made great strides in technological innovation and organized the construction work with dedication and great care. All this ensured smooth progress in the project, which has broken several records in the history of high-speed railway construction, including the depth of 143 meters drilled for a pile at Jiaojiang Super Bridge’s main piers, the first construction with diatomaceous earth in China, the longest tunnel in eastern China, and the first single-bore tunnel with a large cross-section for four lanes, etc.

The laying of the rails of the Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway was completed in June 2021 and the testing and coordination of all the sections of the railway were begun in September. In the process, China Railway Shanghai Group Co., Ltd. arranged for the working units of the railway project and technology departments to conduct a thorough overhaul and tests of the railway.The tasks were carried out safely and efficiently with the quality ensured. This was followed by the trial operation of the railway. 

The Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway is an integral part of China’s coastal express railway for passenger transport, linking Hangzhou, Shaoxing and Taizhou. Trains on that railway will start at Hangzhou East Station in the north, reach Shaoxing North Station through the Hangzhou–Ningbo High-speed Railway, and then terminate at Wenling Station in Taizhou through the newly constructed railway. The trains will run at a designed speed of 350 km/h on the railway with a total length of 266.9 kilometers, of which 226.3 kilometres are newly constructed. There are eight stations on the railway, namely Shaoxing North, Shangyu South, Shengzhou North, Shengzhou Xinchang, Tiantai Mountain, Linhai, Taizhou and Wenling. Each of the stations features the local cultural elements in its design and affords passengers the scenery peculiar to its location.

Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway will afford travellers a passage to scenic, cultural and historic spots on Zhejiang’s eastern coast depicted in the poetry of the Tang dynasty, including the hometown of Lu Xun, the scenic areas of Tianmu Mountain and Tiantai Mountain and the City Wall of Taizhou. The opening of the railway will make Shengzhou, Xinchang County and Tiantai County accessible by railway for the first time. The railway will also be connected to other high-speed railways such as the Shanghai-Kunming Railway, Shangqiu-Hefei-Hangzhou Railway, Nanjing–Hangzhou Railway, Hangzhou-Huangshan Railway and Hangzhou-Shenzhen Railway. It will also be linked to the high-speed railway network in the Yangtze River Delta Region, thus shortening the express railway journey between Taizhou and Hangzhou from two hours to about one hour. This will make it very convenient for the people living in the area along the railway to travel and thus facilitate the economic integration in the Yangtze River Delta. The Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway can also broaden the present “one-hour transport radius” area of the Zhejiang province and expedite the region’s economic and societal development.