A train arrives at Yangzhou railway station.
|Other name(s)||Ningqi railway|
|Locale||Jiangsu, People's Republic of China|
|Termini||Nanjing railway station|
Nantong East railway station
|Line length||268.3 kilometres (166.7 mi)|
|Operating speed||200 km/h|
The Nanjing-Qidong railway (simplified Chinese: -?; traditional Chinese: -?; pinyin: ), commonly referred to in short as the Ningqi railway (simplified Chinese: ?; traditional Chinese: ?; pinyin: ), is a railway in the Chinese province of Jiangsu. Its common name is derived from Ning, the one-character abbreviation for Nanjing and Qi, which refers to Qidong, a county-level city of Nantong. Despite its name, the railway currently runs as far as east as Nantong East railway station, and does not extend into Qidong itself, although this remaining section is under construction. At its present state, the railway is 268.3 kilometres (166.7 mi) in length. It runs along the northern bank of the Yangtze River, serving cities such as Yangzhou, Taizhou, and Hai'an. Passenger service is currently operated between Nanjing railway station and Nantong railway station only.
Planning for a railway along the north bank of the Yangtze River began as early as 1958. In 1977, the government of Jiangsu province designated the railway from Nanjing to Nantong as a project for completion within the next 10 years. Due to funding shortage and disagreement over route, the project was not built for 20 years. The project was revived in the late 1990s with the onset of construction on the Xinyi-Changxing railway, which was the first railway to be built in Jiangsu province north of the Yangtze River. In 2001, the Ministry of Railways approved plans for the Ningqi railway, and construction was built in two phases. The Nanjing to Hai'an section was built from March 1, 2002 to December 2003. The Haian to Yangzhou and Nantong sections were completed by July 2005.
A major upgrade project on the Nanjing-Qidong railway was completed in December 20, 2015. This involved the electrification of the railway line and building a second track. This was expected to halve the travel time from Nantong to Nanjing from the previous 3 hours 50 min to 1 hour 50 min. EMU trains entered trial operation on May 6, 2016 and started revenue service from May 15, 2016.
Plans were approved in 2012 for a cross-river connection from Nantong to the Shanghai metropolitan area (the Shanghai-Nantong railway). It will connect to the Nanjing-Qidong railway at Pingdong station (Chinese: ; pinyin: ) on the northwestern outskirts of Nantong's urban core. Construction work on the Hutong Yangtze River bridge started on March 1, 2014. The line is expected to open at the end of 2018.