Southern Xinjiang railway
The Southern Xinjiang railway or Nanjiang railway (simplified Chinese: 南疆铁路; traditional Chinese: 南疆鐵路; pinyin: nánjiāng tiělù) is a railway between Turpan and Kashgar in Xinjiang, China. The railway is 1,446 km (899 mi) in length and runs along the southern slope of the Tian Shan mountain range, connecting all major cities and towns of the northern Tarim Basin, including Turpan, Hejing, Yanqi, Korla, Luntai (Bügür), Kuqa, Toksu (Xinhe), Aksu, Maralbexi (Bachu), Artux and Kashgar.
The Southern Xinjiang railway was built from east to west. The Turpan-Korla section in the east (457 km) was built from 1974 to 1984. The western section from Korla to Kashgar (988 km (614 mi)) was built from 1996 to 1999. From Yanqi to Kashgar, the line follows National Highway 314. The Kashgar–Hotan railway, originally referred to as Phase III of the Southern Xinjiang railway, opened in 2010. From 2008 to 2013, the Korla to Kuqa section, 526.9 km (327 mi) in length, was double-tracked.
In December 2014, a second double-track electrified line between Turpan and Korla opened to commercial operation. This new line, called the second Turpan–Korla railway, is 334 km (208 mi) in length. The line makes use of extensive tunneling to shorten the distance between the two cities by 123 km (76 mi). The maximum elevation along route is lowered from 2,980 m (9,777 ft) to 1,490 m (4,888 ft), and the steepest incline is reduced from 22.7‰ to 13‰. The longest tunnel along route, the Middle Tianshan Tunnel, is 22.467 km (14.0 mi) in length and one of the longest railway tunnels in China.