High-speed rail circles Hainan
The first high-speed train running along the Hainan-Circle railway circuit started service formally on 9:40am, Dec 30, 2015. From this moment on, Hainan, the International Tourism Island of China, boasts the first high-speed railway circle in operation around an island in the world.
On the first day of the formal operation, the railway authorities dispatched 49 pairs of high-speed train service in total, including 36 pairs in eastern section, 10 pairs in western section, and 3 pairs finishing the whole circuit. After Jan 10, 2016, there will be more pairs (around 80 pairs, in service between 7am to 23:59pm) in service and the average break between two services linking Haikou and Sanya will be just about 12 minutes.
The Hainan Island high-speed railway has a total mileage of 653 kilometers, with 25 stations including Haikou East, Ledong, Phoenix Airport, Sanya, Lingshui, Boao, Qionghai and other stops. Trains will travel at a speed of 200 km per hour. An around-the-island trip by hi-speed train can be finished within three hours and a half.
The high-speed railway in Hainan formed a circuit around the island after the Western Ring Railway is linked up with the Eastern Ring Railway, which started operation in 2010. The Western Ring Railway underwent very strict trail period service to ensure safety and smooth operation for more than one month.
The Western Ring section costs 27.1 billion RMB ($4.3 billion) with a total length of 344 kilometers and 12 stops along Hainan’s western coast. This is the biggest construction project in Hainan’s history. The total length of the railway for hi-speed trains is 651 kilometers in Hainan now. Experts and local people expected that high-speed rails will greatly boost the tourism in the less-developed and less-frequented western coast of Hainan. Sanya, a tourist city in the south tip, will not only be merely a tourism destination but also an important linking hub for more tourists trying to explore new beautiful parts of Hainan.
The eastern side of the ring has served 57 million passengers since trains began operating in 2010. Estimates of number of passengers travelling along the western ring rail will be around 50 million.
The high-speed rail circle will boost the local tourism industry along the less developed western part of the island, a region that tourism industry contributed less than 3 percent to the total GDP in western Hainan.
The National Development and Reform Commission released a 10-year plan in 2010 for Hainan to become an International Tourism Island. By 2020, with a strong development of tourism on this island, the total contribution of service industries should reach 60 percent. Infrastructure construction is key to further develop tourism and boost economic development of Hainan.