In September 1898 at a conference in London, British and German capitalists decided to build a railway from Tianjin to Zhenjiang. In May 1899, the Qing government agreed to the financing of the railway construction along with a series of bank loans. In 1908, the plan for the railway line was changed to Tianjin to Nanjing, in the Pukou District which is on the north side of the Yangtze River. Construction of the railway began in 1908 and the Tientsin–Pukow railway was completed in 1912. Altogether, the original railway line was built with 85 stations, of which 31 were in Shandong province.
Rail traffic had to be ferried across the Yangtze to Nanjing to connect with the railroads passing through that city until the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge was built across the river in 1968. Currently, it is the main section of Jinghu railway.