The track extends over 2,700 km and there are 22 stations, with six of them offering cargo services. The link connects the Chinese train network in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region with the Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan loop, which is currently under construction. Once completed, the transport market is offered another rail option stretching from China to Europe, running across Central Asia, and avoiding Russian territory.
It has taken exactly 3.5 years, from the fixing of the first track until today’s completion of the entire loop. The fact that the Taklamakan is a widely uninhabited, undulating desert, with no
need to build bridges to cross any rivers or circumvent large settlements, only made the work easier at first glance. The far greater challenge for the route planners and engineers was the
sandstorms. Often blowing unpredictably, they can turn hundreds of track kilometers into a dunescape in no time, completely impassable by any train. Certainly, a high-risk factor for regular
operations, and difficult to avoid. This relates particularly to the southern edge of the desert where 65% of the route leads through the storm zone.
The designers’ solution: To protect the railway line from damage caused by sandstorms and prevent operational disruptions, they opted to elevate sections of the tracks by setting them on pillars, this way allowing the free passage of sand. In addition, 50 million square meters of grass grids have been laid, and 13 million shrub and tree seedlings have been planted, stretching nearly 300 kilometers along the tracks, covering the section most exposed to sandstorms, the railway company stated in a release.
The new line connects to three existing desert railways, enabling trains to pass through five prefecture-level regions in Xinjiang, enhancing logistics opportunities and offering travel options. Now, minerals extracted in the Xinjiang region, but also cotton, walnuts, dates, and other local produce harvested there can be more easily brought to market.
The trains serve many purposes
In addition to the economic benefits, however, the Beijing regime sees further advantages enabled by the new Taklamakan rail loop, which leads through a region mainly inhabited by Uyghurs and Muslim minorities. This is indicated in a statement published by the China State Railway Group: “The new rail line will play a crucial role in boosting ethnic unity, strengthening national defense.”
A statement that must sound like a threat to most Uyghurs. Thousands of them are locked up in camps and subjected to the worst harassment by their state guards, including torture, the raping of women and their forced sterilization.
We welcome and publish comments from all authenticated users.