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New rail to reinforce region's economy

  A worker picks roses in a rose deep-processing field in Hotan, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, June 6, 2018. The rose industry has increased the income of local people. (Photo/Xinhua)

  Construction of a railway linking Hotan prefecture and Ruoqiang county in Xinjiang will start at the end of this year and is ultimately expected to boost development in southern Xinjiang, the local railway authority said.

  Spanning 826 kilometers, the railway will have 69 stops and a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour, according to the China Railway Corp Urumqi Bureau.

  With a planned investment of 22.2 billion yuan ($3.24 billion), the project, which will take three and a half years to complete, is expected to help boost the local economy and support poverty alleviation projects, the bureau said.

  The east-west railway will start from Hotan in the west, pass through several counties that currently have no rail access - including Lop, Qira, Yutian and Qiemo counties - and terminate at Ruoqiang county in the east.

  The Ruoqiang stop will link to the Golmud-Korla railway, a rail artery linking the region with neighboring provinces. That line is under construction and will be completed in 2020, the bureau said.

  Southern Xinjiang is a key area for the China to carry out targeted poverty alleviation. After the completion of the Hotan-Ruoqiang railway, people living there will have a much easier way to travel out of the area, the bureau said.

  It will also help boost the cultural, information and goods exchanges, and aid the coordinated development in Xinjiang, it said.