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Train driver witnesses rapid development of rail network

By HU MEIDONG in Fuzhou and LUO WANGSHU | China Daily | Updated: 2022-04-07


A bullet train travels on the Pingtan Haixia Rail-Road Bridge in East China's Fujian province, in October 2020. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

"All cities in Fujian now have access to high-speed rail, which makes travel faster and more convenient," he said, adding that a new high-speed railway with a designed speed of 350 kilometers per hour is expected to open soon, which will make travel even easier.

The new line, connecting Fuzhou and Xiamen, is the second high-speed railway linking the province's two main cities and is expected to open next year.

He has held different posts in the railway, including driving steam locomotives, freight and passenger trains and organizing compartments. Now, he is responsible for overseeing cargo trains, including the international freight services between China and Europe.

"Even though I no longer take passengers, transporting goods is as important a job. There are goods to be exported overseas and also anti-pandemic materials," He said.

The opening of a line in 2020 between Fuzhou and Pingtan, an island county in Fujian, was thrilling news, as it seemed to bring He's dream a little closer.

Pingtan, which is 126 kilometers from Hsinchu in Taiwan, is the largest island in Fujian, and is also the closest spot on the mainland to the main island of Taiwan.

According to the national medium and long-term railway network plan released in 2016, Taiwan will eventually be linked to the mainland's high-speed railway network.

Last year, a transport network plan was jointly released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, China's Cabinet.

The construction of a branch line from Fuzhou to Taipei has been laid out in the guideline, Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman with the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, told a news conference in November.

Fujian has completed preliminary technical plans for bridges connecting the coastal area of Fujian with Taiwan's Jinmen and Matsu islands, she said.

The Pingtan Haixia Rail-Road Bridge, connecting the mainland with Pingtan, has already opened to traffic, linking it to the national railway network, she added.

He Zhigang is eager to see the day he can reconnect with family again. "There are quite a few families like us on the mainland. We experienced the difficulties of being apart, and we very much want a peaceful cross-Straits relationship," he said.

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