The completed tunnel runs 22.24 km in the mountainous Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and will reduce the distance between Turpan with Korla in southern Xinjiang by 122 km. At present the distance between these two points on the Nanjiang Railway is 334 km.
The tunnel is part of China's efforts to prepare the relatively backward Xinjiang area to take advantage of the planned China-Pakistan economic corridor. Chinese leaders are also betting that enhanced economic development will help soften the ongoing bloody movement among a section of Uygur Muslims in Xinjiang, sources said.
Chinese engineers have now announced an undersea tunnel, which will be more than double the size of the existing record holder, the Channel Tunnel. It will knock off nearly 1200 km of travel from the northern Chinese city of Dalian to Yantai on the east coast. Work could begin as early as 2015 or 2016.