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1st High-speed Railway in W China Finishes Trial Operation

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The first high-speed passenger railway in western China, which links Xi'an with Zhengzhou, finished trial operation Thursday, the designer said.

The trial train finished the 505-km journey in 1 hour and 48 minutes at a speed of up to 352 km/h, said Bai Cuncang, the railway's chief engineer.

The line will help shorten the travel time between the two major cities to less than two hours from current six hours, according to the China Railway First Survey and Design Institute.

Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province, is home to the terracotta warriors. Zhengzhou is the capial of central Henan Province.

The line, part of a major east-west railway artery between Xuzhou and Lanzhou, cost about 35.3 billion yuan (US$5.2 billion). It includes a 79.7-km Weihe river bridge, the longest among existing bridges nationwide.

The timetable of formal operation is yet to be decided, Bai said.

(Xinhua News Agency January 29, 2010)