A tunnel section of the new Beijing-Zhangjiakou rail line. The intelligent high speed trains are upgrades of the Fuxing bullet train. Credit: Beijing Tourism.

The high-speed railway line linking Beijing with Zhangjiakou, North China’s Hebei Province — a major project for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games — will be put into operation on Monday, the China Railway Corp. said over the weekend.

The 174-kilometer rail line is the first of its kind in China that is covered by China’s self-developed Beidou Satellite Navigation System (BDS-3), Global Times reported.

With a maximum design speed of 350 km/h, it will reduce the travel time between Beijing and Zhangjiakou from more than 3 hours to 47 minutes, promoting the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. Zhangjiakou is the co-host city for the 2022 winter games.

There will be 10 stations, and some stations will have facial recognition devices that allow passengers to enter the gates with their personal IDs, the Beijing News reported on Saturday.

Ticket sales for the rail line started at 6 pm on Saturday. After one minute, most of the tickets for trains departing on Monday were sold out. Tickets linking Beijing North station to Zhangjiakou station cost from 88 yuan (US$12.58) to 266 yuan.

Some intelligent high-speed bullet trains will also run on the Beijing-Zhangjiakou rail line for experimental purposes, according to the Beijing News report.

The intelligent high-speed trains are upgrades of the Fuxing bullet train, able to achieve autonomous and intelligent driving. The trains have functions tailored for the 2022 Olympics, such as media cars that will livestream sports events, and racks for skis.

Meanwhile, officials in Beijing said China is poised to finish the construction of BeiDou-3, with another two geostationary orbit satellites to be launched before June 2020, spokesperson Ran Chengqi on Friday.

Friday marks the one-year anniversary of China’s BDS-3 system providing global service.

Ran said at a press conference of the State Council Information Office that with the BDS as the core, a more ubiquitous, integrated and intelligent navigation and timing system with comprehensive national positioning is scheduled to be established by 2035.

China sent 10 BDS satellites into space in 2019. The deployment of the core BDS-3 constellation system has been completed with all of the BDS-3 system’s medium earth orbit satellites being networked.

With the system’s upgraded intelligent operation and maintenance capabilities, the BDS-3 has provided stable and accurate services, boasting a positioning accuracy of better than five meters.

The BDS system has multiple service capabilities, including satellite-based augmentation, short message communication, ground augmentation as well as international search and rescue. It will provide more diversified services with better performance and higher accuracy in 2020, Ran said.

A series of documents on the BDS system were also released to promote the understanding of the system and facilitate its use. The documents were published on the official website of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System.

The BDS system has seen thriving applications in many areas and has fostered an industrial ecosystem, Ran said.

The navigation and positioning chip supporting BDS-3’s new signal has a smaller volume, lower power consumption and higher accuracy, and has realized large-scale application.

The new generation of BDS system-related products including high-precision antennas, boards, and broadband radio frequency chips has been developed.

The BDS system has also seen increasing applications in emerging fields such as the industrial Internet and Internet of Things, as well as autonomous driving, parking and logistics.

With the arrival of the 5G commercial era, BDS is accelerating the integration with new technologies such as the next generation of mobile communication, blockchain and artificial intelligence, Ran said.

The BDS system is playing an important role in many industries including transportation, agriculture, forestry and energy. It supports China’s dynamic monitoring system for more than 6.5 million vehicles. It will further facilitate railway transportation, inland river shipping, ocean navigation and the management of transportation infrastructure construction, Ran said.

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