Tracks have been layed for the Hotan-Ruoqiang Railway in Minfeng County in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The Hotan-Ruoqiang Railway is the final segment of the Taklimakan Desert railway loop line and is expected to be in service in June next year.

In December 2018, construction work began on the 825km-long Hotan-Ruoqiang Railway, reported Xinhua.

It connects Hotan City in the Hotan Prefecture with Ruoqiang County in Bayingolin Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture.

After completion, this line will encircle the Taklimakan Desert entirely, linking the existing Golmud-Korla Railway, the Kashgar-Hotan Railway, and other southern Xinjiang railways.

Hotan-Ruoqiang Railway chief designer Yang Baorong was quoted by Xinhua as saying: “This railway line runs through the southern edge of the Taklimakan Desert. Sandstorms pose a serious threat to railway construction and operation as tracks can be buried.”

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By GlobalData

Apart from railway construction, anti-desertification programmes were also executed at the same time.

Around 50 million square metres of grass grids were placed, along with the plantation of 13 million seedlings.

Viaducts were also constructed, enabling safe passage in places where hazards associated with sandstorms were more likely.

When Hotan-Ruoqiang Railway will become operational, around five counties in southern Xinjiang and some towns of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps will be linked to it.

This line is expected to reduce travelling time, enhance travel experience, and bolster the development of mineral resources along the route.

Earlier this month, a report said that China will invest around $154.88bn to expand the railway network in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region over the 14th five-year plan period (2021-25).