Urumqi to Beijing in 12 hours. Urumqi to Shanghai in less than 20 hours. Average speed of 350 km/hr (220 mph). An investment of 143 billion yuan. This is the new Urumqi high speed rail station.
It’s the world’s longest high-speed rail line and it is expected to open as early as 2015. This has the potential to completely change the face of Xinjiang travel and commerce.
Consider this: it was only a century ago that such a journey by famous European explorers was measured in months, not hours.
The New Urumqi Train Station
In order to accommodate this new influx of high-speed traffic, Urumqi – the capital of the Xinjiang province – is building a completely new train station.
The old Urumqi train station will still exist to service the slower trains but all high-speed trains will follow the tracks to the new station. Ground was broken in April of 2013 in the Shayibake (沙依巴克区) district of Urumqi with the expectation that work will be completed by the end of 2014. What used to be acres of farming fields will be turned into a modern business district.
In relation to the old station, the new Urumqi high speed rail station will be built less than 10 kilometers to the north west near the intersection of Suzhou Road and the Outer Ring road (see map of the approximate location here).
Artistic renderings of the inside of the new station show an enormous open general area with high ceilings and plenty of seating (at least until Spring Festival). Entrance to the station looks to be available both on the north and south ends.
Currently the area is already undergoing a massive building spree in preparation for the new station. The rising industrial park will include commercial buildings, government buildings and plenty of residential space. (See here for more construction photos)
Lanzhou-Urumqi High Speed Railway
In 2009, construction began on a double rail high-speed railway link between Lanzhou and Urumqi. While much of it will run parallel to the current line, it will actually detour through Xining in the Qinghai province instead of following all the way through Gansu. In total it will run 1,776 km through three different provinces.
It is expected that there will be 31 stations along the line, including all the major tourist stops like Dunhuang, Hami, and Turpan. If current high-speed train prices are any indication, the cost of a 1st class ticket from Urumqi to Beijing could equal the cost of an airline ticket.
Additional Concept Photos
Below are a few concept photos and artist renderings of the new Urumqi high speed rail station.