China opens Fuzhou-Pingtan railway to boost cross-strait travel



The Fuzhou-Pingtan railway in east China's Fujian Province went into operation Saturday morning after seven years of construction, allowing visitors from the Chinese mainland and China's Taiwan to travel more conveniently across the Taiwan Straits.

The 88-kilometer railway, designed to support high-speed trains running at a speed of up to 200 km per hour, connects the provincial capital of Fuzhou with the largest island in the province, which is the nearest place in the Chinese mainland to Taiwan Island, only 68 nautical miles (about 126 km) away from Hsinchu City.

Noting that they have been taking the "Strait" ship to travel between Pingtan and Taiwan, Yang Binghao, who is from Taiwan and runs a cultural and creative center in Pingtan, said that with the Fuzhou-Pingtan railway, "Taiwan compatriots can now transfer via railway after arriving in Pingtan by sea, and then we can easily travel to Beijing, Shanghai and other parts of the mainland."

People take the high speed train from Fuzhou to Pingtan. /CFP

A child looks at the views out of the train window. /CFP

A bullet train stops at the Pingtan station in Pingtan, east China's Fujian Province. /CFP

Yang believes that the railway will further promote the opening-up and development of Pingtan and facilitate cross-strait travel and communication, benefiting local residents and people from both sides.

Thanks to bullet trains running on the Pingtan Strait Road-Rail Bridge, it now only takes around half an hour for residents and visitors to commute between both places. The 16.3-kilometer-long bridge, with a six-lane highway on top and a high-speed railway at bottom, is China's first and the world's longest cross-sea road-rail bridge.

The 16.3-km-long Pingtan Strait Road-Rail Bridge is China's first and the world's longest cross-sea road-rail bridge. /CFP

The new railway will link the island county with major cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen through the transportation hub in Fuzhou, according to Li Fei, an official with the China Railway Nanchang Group Co., Ltd.

In 2009, the Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone was launched in the county to facilitate cross-strait exchange and cooperation, aiming to become a "common home for compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits," which currently houses more than 1,000 Taiwan-invested enterprises.

Sunset view of the Tannan Bay in Pingtan, Fujian, China. /CFP

View of the Haitan Ancient City in Pingtan, Fujian, China. /CFP

View of the Tannan Bay in Pingtan, Fujian, China. /CFP

Comprised of 126 islands, Pingtan is home to marvelous natural wonders and a number of tourist attractions such as Haitan Island, Tannan Bay, Pingtan Island National Forest Park, and Haitan Ancient City, and has become increasingly popular among visitors from home and abroad in recent years.

From January 20, up to 17 sets of bullet trains will run on the line every day, up from 9.5 sets plying currently, further boosting the development of local tourism.

(Cover: A bullet train runs on the Pingtan Strait Road-Rail Bridge in Pingtan, east China's Fujian Province. /CFP)