The new, faster (350 km/h / 217 mph) connection from Ji’nan to Qingdao will soon get built in earnest, following reports from local and railway media and regional authorities.
The new line will be ready by 2018, and will not only cut travel time from Ji’nan to Qingdao to just around an hour (instead of the near 2+ hour trek today), but will also connect with Yantai and make a Ji’nan-Yantai trip a mere two-hour one.
Works are beginning in earnest as the Qingyang Tunnel, around halfway through the line, is being built. The 307.8 km (192 1/3 mi) route will mostly travel over flat land; only 5.6% of the line will be made up of tunnels. The tunnel is being seen as critical to the progress of the entire line. Works on the rest of the line will follow shortly in this project which is expected to take just shy of three years to fully complete.
80% of this new line is being funded by the province of Shandong, with China Railways funding a mere 20%. This is then the first HSR line which will be mainly funded by a local authority instead of a central body.
The Ji’nan terminus will be a completely redone new Ji’nan East (Ji’nandong) Railway Station. The whole line will run across seven intermediate stations before terminating at Hongdao station. There will be connections there to central Qingdao, as well as further onward towards Yantai. This line will also call at the new airport in Qingdao.
The new HSR line will run south of the present-day line, which usually runs at just 200 km/h (125 mph), but has a short 250 km/h (157 mph) stretch. Nearly all stations on the line will be completely new, and will be visible improvements compared to current stations on the existing route.