At 11:40 on April 11, the 106-car No. 71503 freight train carrying 12,000 tons of coal slowly left Zhangzi South Station on Watang-Rizhao Railway and headed for Rizhao Port, creating a new traction record for heavy haul trains set by China Railway Zhengzhou Group Co., Ltd. on Watang-Rizhao Railway after the first 10,000-ton heavy haul train was put into operation in January 2018.
Watang-Rizhao Railway, starting from Watang Town in Xingxian County, Shanxi Province in the west and ending at Rizhao City, Shandong Province in the east, is China's first heavy-haul railway for 30-ton axle-load vehicles that was completed in one phase, and is also an important coal transportation corridor connecting the east and west of China. The main line of Watang-Rizhao Railway is 1,267.3 km long, of which 334.4 km are under the administration of China Railway Zhengzhou Group Co., Ltd.
In the initial stage after opening to traffic, the tonnage rating for freight trains was 5,000 tons. In recent years, China State Railway Group Co., Ltd. has successively organized various heavy-haul comprehensive tests in 6 categories and 83 subjects on Watang-Rizhao Railway. More than 40 scientific research achievements were made in rolling stock, track maintenance, communication and signaling, traction power supply, heavy-haul transportation, vibration & noise, etc., accumulating valuable experience on the management and operation of heavy-haul railways in China.
On January 17, 2018, China Railway Zhengzhou Group Co., Ltd. officially operated a 10,000-ton heavy-haul train for the first time on Watang-Rizhao Railway. In October 2019, to further promote the freight volume growth, China Railway Zhengzhou Group Co., Ltd. organized a traction test for 12,000-ton heavy-haul trains on Watang-Rizhao Railway.
On April 10, with the new train operation diagram being applied in national railways, the tonnage rating of 10,000-ton heavy-haul trains on Watang-Rizhao Railway was adjusted from the current not more than 96 cars to not more than 106 cars, which further raised the railway's transport capacity.