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A new tramway in China: Dujiangyan

© Tony HS @UnkoEats (X)

On 15 May 2024, the time had come once again: another new tram system started passenger service in the People’s Republic of China. This time, the new light rail is located in Sichuan Province, and it serves the local population but helps to open up and connect the region’s tourist attractions, too.

Dujiangyan lies just under 700 metres above sea level and currently has a population of approximately 710,000. Since 2010, it has been connected to the capital of Chengdu Prefecture via an approximately 65 km long high-speed line of the state railway.

Construction of the tram – also known as the Dujiangyan MRT – began in 2018, with the first test runs starting in 2022.

Main Line 1 runs for 13.8 kilometres from Bajiao Temple in the north to the famous Qingcheng Mountain with its Daoist temples to the south of the city, cennecting the so-called Panda Valley (Dujiangyan Panda Base). A 3.4 km long branch line provides a direct link to Dujiangyan main station of the high-speed line, but there is also a connection to the railway at the Qingcheng shan terminus. A network scheme is available here.

Opening! | © CRRC

A total of 21 stops including the termini are served by the new light rail, resulting in a relatively large distance between stops, particularly on the southern section, which clearly underlines the tourist character of the railway here. Some sections of the new tramway are laid on elevated alignment, but in the urban area, grass track (still to be harvested in occasions) is mainly used in the town centre or along roads.

26 five-section low-floor trams based on the Alstom Citadis 302 model are in service. They were manufactured at the CRRC plant in Changke and are adapted to the special climatic requirements of the region’s subtropical climate. They offer space for up to 292 passengers. Alstom supplied the bogies and traction equipment as part of a co-operation agreement.

They currently run from 5.30 h a.m. to midnight at 20 to 30-minute intervals. The timetable will be extended further in future as required.

© TDLadakh on X

Picture gallery – test runs in December 2023: