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China's First Self-Designed, Self-Built Railway: Game-Ghanger in Southwest China's Development

Updated: June 22, 2021

It is a remarkable flag on which are written four Chinese characters "开路先锋" (Kai Lu Xian Feng), meaning trailbreaker, in golden color. It was awarded by Deng Xiaoping, former leader of China, and Marshal He Long.

In early 1950 when the country had just been founded, a report was submitted to the central government proposing development of Southwest China and pointing out the importance of building the Chengdu-Chongqing Railway.

To carry out the railway project, the Southwest Railway Engineering Bureau was established.  Based on the Sichuan-Chongqing Railway Engineering Bureau, it was the predecessor of China Railway No.2 Engineering Group Co., Ltd. of China Railway Group Limited (CREC).

A ceremony was held on June 15, 1950 to announce the beginning of the railway construction. It was then that Marshal He gave the flag to the builders.

More than 30,000 soldiers of the People's Liberation Army and about 100,000 workers participated in the project.

The workers had to build the railway and at the same time keep alert to the danger as remaining Kuomintang forces as well as bandits and ruffians entrenched in the area would attack them and thwart construction of the railway.

Despite the obstacles, the line opened to traffic on July 1, 1952.

The first of its kind to be completely designed and built by China, the Sichuan-Chongqing Railway stretched across the Sichuan Basin and was a logistics and economic game-changer in development of Southwest China.

It also showed the country's capacity for railway construction and was the beginning of China's efforts to boost its economy.

To date, CREC has participated in construction of more than 300 railways in China that total more than 90,000 kilometers in length.

(Executive editor: Wang Ruoting)