Yixing to benefit from its first passenger train service

Updated: 2013-07-01 09:05

By Shi Yingying in Yixing, Jiangsu (China Daily)

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If convenience is calculated in hours and minutes saved for individual travelers, then the benefits brought by the Nanjing-Hangzhou high-speed are too great to count for Jiangsu's Yixing, a small city with a population of 1.35 million that lies between Nanjing and Hangzhou.

Famous for its purple clay pottery, the county-level city has never had a passenger rail service before the one due to begin July 1, let alone a high-speed railway.

A total of 78 high-speed trains a day will pass and stop at Yixing's newly-built train station, where swallows still mistake the fresh architecture for their old homes, once the Nanjing-Hangzhou line is operational, becoming part of a Nanjing-Hangzhou-Shanghai rail triangle.

"A large number of individual and business travelers will come to visit and even consider purchasing apartments here, and the city's real estate business is expected to increase," said Wang Yefeng, director of Yixing's planning administration.

The plans are for a high-speed rail new town, a complex combining residential areas and commercial buildings that will accommodate about 50,000 to 60,000 people within the 4.76-square-kilometer area in front of the new station. The complex is still in the initial stage of conceptual planning.

The flow of talent made accessible by easy transportation is another big opportunity for the city, Wang said.

With top universities, including Nanjing University and Zhejiang University, in both Nanjing and Hangzhou, Wang believes the high-speed train will not only bring tourists but also employment and investment opportunities.

Within seven years, Yixing's population is expected to grow to 1.6 million and by 2030 it is forecast to become a city of 1.8 million people, according to local government data. This is in accordance with the expectations of Yu Hongsheng, director of the Urban Development Research Center from Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

"It's good in terms of easing the high density of urban population along the Nanjing-Shanghai side," Yu said.

"Cities such as Suzhou and Wuxi along the Nanjing-Shanghai side of the triangle became well developed thanks to their high-speed line, and that's the future for Yixing," he said.