Xinjiang's first high-speed rail starts operation

URUMQI, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- The first high-speed rail in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region became operational on Sunday, slashing travel time between the regional capital of Urumqi and the eastern city of Hami by half to three hours.

The 530-km rail, with a designed speed of over 200 km per hour, is part of the 1,776-km Lanxin high-speed railway linking Urumqi with Lanzhou, capital of northwestern province of Gansu, which will be put into service by the end of this year.

The railway crossing a vast expanse of the Gobi Desert and windy areas will be further connected with China's booming high-speed rail network, to play a key role in the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative raised by China to boost cooperation with central and western Asian nations.

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