The Chinese province of Yunnan has opened its new $669m (4.55bn yuan) rail line connecting Dali to Lijiang.

The opening of the 162km rail line marks a major step in the province’s plans to expand its rail connectivity to the country’s interior areas as well as south and south-east Asia.

The rail line will cater to nearly five million people from Dali, Lijiang, Diqing and Nujiang in western Yunnan.

Covering 47 tunnels and 76 bridges, the rail line’s construction took nearly five years to finish.

The rail line will also link to the south-east Asian rail network through an under-construction 350km rail line between Dali and Sino-Myanmar border city Ruili.