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Taking the Ferry Across Qiongzhou Strait


The Qiongzhou Strait (琼州海峡) is a body of water that separates the Leizhou Peninsula in Guangdong, southern China, to the north from Hainan Island to its south. The strait connects the Gulf of Tonkin in the west to the James Shoal on the eastern edge of the South China Sea.

The strait is on average 30 km (19 mi) wide and centered at 20°09′N 110°16′E with a maximum water depth of approximately 120 m (390 ft).

The Guangdong–Hainan Ferry carries rail cars and automotive vehicles across the strait.

A 140 billion RMB ($21 billion USD) bridge across the strait is planned to begin construction in 2012 and is projected to be completed in 2020. The bridge is currently designed to have levels for both trains and cars, and is expected to be 26.3 km (16.3 mi) long. Currently the strait is susceptible to closure during strong typhoon activity.

The Guangdong–Hainan Ferry, or the Yuehai Ferry (粤海铁路轮渡) is a train and vehicle ferry connecting Guangdong and Hainan. The ferries runs across the Qiongzhou Strait, between Zhanjiang, Guangdong and Haikou, Hainan.

The line has operated since January 2003, carrying both freight and passenger trains, enabling direct train service between the mainland and the cities of Haikou and Sanya on Hainan Island. In 2010, two ferry boats were in operation: Yuehai No. 1 and Yuehai No. 2. The third boat, Yuehai No. 3, was launched in Tianjin in September 2010.

Yuehai No. 3 and the fourth boat, Yuehai No. 4, entered revenue service with the ferry company on February 1, 2013. The two 23,000-ton vessels are 188 meter long, 23 meters wide and 15.3 meters in total hight; they have a 5.6 m draft. The vessels carry rail cars at the lower deck and cars on the upper deck; there are passenger compartments as well. They travel at the speed of up to 17 knots.

Ticket prices for ferry passengers are currently 42 RMB/person.

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