URUMQI, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Workers have started to lay tracks for a long-distance railway that links China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region with the neighboring Qinghai Province.
The 1,213-km-long line, connecting Golmud in Qinghai and Korla in Xinjiang, is the third rail artery linking Xinjiang with neighboring provinces. One of the other two railways links Urumqi with Lanzhou, capital of Gansu Province, and the other connects Ejina in Inner Mongolia with Hami in eastern Xinjiang.
Construction on the Golmud-Korla line began in 2014, and has proceeded faster than planned, said Chen Junjie, head of the Korla section.
About 708 kilometers of the Golmud-Korla line are in Xinjiang and 505 kilometers are in Qinghai.
At a cost of 37.64 billion yuan (about 6.15 billion U.S. dollars), the project is scheduled to take five years. Its Qinghai section will start operation by the end of 2018.
The line will cut the traffic time between Golmud and Korla from 26 hours to 12 hours.
The railway will also connect Xinjiang with the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.