URUMQI, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Trial operation of a major railway for transporting coal from northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to the inland areas started Thursday, according to the rail operator.
A train carrying 3,700 tonnes of coal departed from Naomaohu Station of Yiwu County on Thursday, marking the maiden trip on the railway that connects the coal-rich northeast parts of Xinjiang with wider regions at its east.
The rail, with a length of 435.6 km and 27 stations along the route, can handle the transportation of 39.5 million tonnes of coal each year, and the capacity is expected to reach 150 million tonnes in the future, according to its operator China Railway Urumqi Group Co. Ltd.
Through the Lanzhou-Xinjiang Railway, the coal can reach Sichuan and Chongqing in southwest China and Inner Mongolia, Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei in northern China.
It is estimated that the railway can cut more than 1,000 km of transporting distance from Xinjiang's coal-rich areas to northern China.
"The railway is of great significance in improving the transportation condition in eastern Xinjiang, cutting logistics costs and accelerating the economic and social development in the region," said Shang Jiqiang, president of Xinjiang Guanghui Industry Investment Group Co. Ltd., the constructor of the rail.