Yuehai (Guangdong - Hainan) 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.
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.
Train Ferry Process
|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.