[9] Luanhe River Diversion Project(1982-1983) | Construction Stage | Story of Railway Crops

River Diversion Project is a result of collaboration of government, local people and railway corps. It involved a lot of people, materials and money. The government of Tianjin not just relied on the subsidy given by the central committee but gathered people to involve in the construction of city infrastructure. There were hundred of volunteers participated in the River Diversion Project, the society became an united and connected team. Beside the volunteer work from local people, the support from railway corps was also significant. 

Local People as volunteers

Railway Corps
They are soldiers who are also railway engineers. They build, repair, operate relevant railway lines and associated infrastructure for example The Luanhe River Diversion project. 

Opening Ceremony
The Railway Corps

Story of Railway Corps participating in diversion project

Luanhe River Diversion is a huge project. The construction includes a series of hydraulic tunnel, reservoirs, dams, channels, water gates. Especially the diversion tunnel which is the longest water tunnel in China. Two water system, Luanhe River and Hai River was connected to solve the problem of drought in Tianjin. The construction process is extremely difficult due to geographic condition. 

The reasons of diverting water from Luanhe River, one is because Luanhe River is close to Tianjin. Second, the water of the luanhe river was in good quality. Third, it would be less expensive if the luanhe river diverted to Tianjin, meaning the cost would be lower. The report attract high attention of the Central Committee and the state council. On September 12, the central committee gave significant instruction to approve the proposal of Tianjin about diverting the Luanhe River water to Tianjin. And also to assign the most difficult part of this urgent and painstaking project drilling diversion tunnel to the Railway corps who are skilled mountain tunnel drillers. 

During the Construction

How to shorten the 15 years construction time to 2 years?  

The Luan River Diversion project aimed at diverting the water from the upper reaches of the Luan River to Tianjin. During the Construction, the tunnel would go through the yan mountain. Through over 200 faults, an over hundred thousands-meter-long tunnel of water diversion would be drilled. This was also a project of “life and death” In the Yan Mountain with the oldest geological conditions, building a water-diversion tunnel, normally even if they drilled together from two ends, to finish such a tunnel required at least 15 years. To complete the project within 2 years became an impossible mission. The time was so limited. The Railway corps decided to drill more inclined shafts which divide it into many shorter sections. 

During Construction

Dividing the long tunnel into shorter section for separate operation, such a plan require to drill from above the water-diversion tunnel fifteen inclined shafts to the tunnel at the same time. Then, when each inclined shaft reached the water-diversion tunnel, it then extended towards with two ends of the tunnel counted in, there were totally 32 working sites for drilling at the same time, which greatly improved the efficiency of the project. 

Water Tunnel

Beside from the limitation of construction time, there were other challenges during the construction, for example, accident of collapse. The collapsed rocks blocked the passageway, stopping the railway corps to move forward. In order to continue the project, a group of dare-to-die corps was form. They kept drilling the tunnel despite of the falling rocks from top. The Story of Railway Corps was documented as tv drama, called staircase with 527 steps (527 台階). The drama was shot inside four of the tunnels. Some of the shots are at 12th water-diversion tunnel where the cast need to climbed 527 steps to the shooting location. 

Completion of the construction
The Railway Corps



李武兵. 瑰寶集–獻給引灤入津工程的建設者. 百花文藝出版社, 1983.

地球上留下的痕跡. 献给参加引滦入津工程建设的鉄道兵. 天津市: 天津人民出版社, 1983.

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