Yuehai Railway
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Yuehai (Guangdong - Hainan) Railway

Yuehai Railway, or Guangdong – Hainan Railway is China’s first cross-sea railway. It starts from Zhanjiang in Guangdong Province, travels across the Qiongzhou Strait by train ferry and arrives in Haikou; connecting Hainan Island with Mainland China. Currently, trains between Hainan Island and Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Zhengzhou, Harbin and Changchun are running along the Yuehai Railway.

For centuries, the 18 sea miles of the Qiongzhou Strait has obstructed the flow of traffic between Hainan Island and Mainland China. Yuehai Railway, 214 miles in total, was built with three sections including the Zhanhai (Zhanjiang-Hai’an) Line in Guangdong, the railway ferry across the Qiongzhou Strait, and the West Ring Line in Hainan. On Dec. 28, 2001, the Zhanhai Line with a length of 86 miles traversing the Leizhou Peninsula passed safety checks, and on Jan. 28, 2002, the line started freight service. On Jan. 7, 2003, the significant Yuehai Railway Ferry opened with a length of 15 miles, connecting Hai’an Port of Guangdong with Haikou Port of Hainan, and turning the deep strait into a thoroughfare. In the early period after its opening, it launched freight service by ferry. On Dec. 28, 2003, it began offering service to individual tourists, and began vehicular transportation. On Apr. 6, 2004, the West Ring Line with a length of 113 miles from Haikou to Chahe in Hainan was finished, and joined the railway to Sanya. The whole line of Yuehai Railway was completed then. Passenger transport began on Dec.5, 2004, when the first cross-sea train (K408/407) departed. From then on, visitors could reach Sanya from Guangdong Province by train directly.
Haikou Railway Station
Haikou Station

As the first cross-sea rail line in China, the Yuehai Railway not only furthers the economic ties between Hainan and the Mainland China, but also brings a veritable boon in visitors. Compared with traveling to Hainan by air, the expense is greatly decreased. Compared with traveling by ship, much time can be saved. Thus, more and more visitors are choosing to visit Hainan by taking trains.

Visitors wanting to go to Hainan can take trains from Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xi'an and Chengdu. Tickets are easy to get at the local railway stations or ticket agents.
 Since it is unique for the Yuehai Railway to travel across Qiongzhou Strait by ferry, passengers should obey some special rules and the ordinary Chinese Railway Passenger Transportation Regulations to guarantee their safety.
 The Yuehai Train Ferries are well equipped with world first-class anti roll device, which enables the ferry to sail safely under the worse weather. Currently, they offer all kinds of ferry services across Qiongzhou Strait, for the trains, cars and coaches and tourists.
 Frequently asked questions and answers to some detailed information about Guangdong-Hainan Rail, including the fare, the ferry, the meal and safety.

Train Ferry Process

The uniqueness of the railway lies in its train ferry across the Qiongzhou Strait. Four carriers, Yuehai Train Ferry No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4, are now serving on the sea. The most difficult part of the process is docking so that the track on the dock needs to be connected to that on the ferry successfully. By adopting some high technology, the problem has been solved.

Yuehai Train Ferry
Yuehai Train Ferry

When the ferry has nearly reached the dock, it turns its stern toward the track on the dock. The ebb and flow of the sea greatly influence the manoeuvre. In order to measure the sea level and control the height of the track, two control rooms are set on each side of the track. When the ferry is about 40 centimeters’ distance from the dock, the railtrack will be adjusted to the same level as that of the ferry under the control of technical personnel on the dock. Then, the railway beams from the dock will be embeded into the railtrack trough of the ferry. Besides the railtrack, the pedestrian walkway and driveway on the dock and ship can complete the joining at the same time.

Upon the arrival at the port (either the South Dock in Haikou or North Dock in Hai’an), the train is divided into three to five sections and pulled onto the ferry by locomotive. The locomotive will push the carriages with an extra empty car setting between. The use of this extra car is to avoid the locomotive driving too close to the edge of dock which extends over the sea. Otherwise, the weight on the dock would be too great. Carriages are arranged carefully on the ferry in order to keep it balanced. They are fixed with cleats and the entrance to the ferry is fenced.

During the pushing process of 20-30 minutes, the power supply to the carriages is cut off. The power supply returns to normal once the carriages are secured on the ferry, and then the ferry is ready to leave the dock. Passengers remain on the train during the one hour’s voyage to the opposite dock.

When arriving at the opposite dock, and after a successful join of the track, the carriages will be pulled by the locomotive onto the rail on the dock, also with an extra empty car setting between the locomotive and the carriages. The train then heads for its destination after crossing the Qiongzhou Strait.

 Further Reading:
  China Railway

- Last updated on Aug. 29, 2022 -
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