In a bid to promote Lanzhou, capital city of Gansu province, to China's northwest as Chengdu is to the country's southwest, the central government is investing RMB160 billion to lay 5,700 kilometers of railway across the province, reported the China Daily.
The track will connect 14 of Gansu's major cities, including southern Gansu's Gannan, which currently is inaccessible via air or rail. These 14 cities will be linked via Lanzhou to the country's western provinces, including Xinjiang, Shaanxi, Qinghai, and Sichuan.
Trains on the railways will travel at speeds of up to 160 kilometers per hour, and the Ministry of Railways expect they will carry a quarter million passengers annually, many likely to be tourists. The railway will also be an important piece of infrastructure for the transportation of goods into regions that have traditionally been considered remote.
Authorities are touting it as significant to the region's economic and social development as the Qinghai-Tibet railway has been to that region.
The line will also pass by Sichuan's Minshan Mountains and Jiuzhaigou.
Construction began last year, and is expected to continue through 2015.