China announces plan to build 11 high speed railways
AFX News Limited: 04.07.2006
BEIJING (AFX) - China set out an ambitious blueprint for the construction of over 12,000 kilometers of high speed railways to connect its major urban centers, Xinhua news agency reported.
The plan calls for four north-south high speed lines, four east-west tracks and three inter-city networks, Su Shunhu, a leading Ministry of Railway official was quoted by Xinhua as saying.
Train speeds are expected to exceed 200 kilometers per hour on the new lines, he said.
The plan was unveiled only days after the central government gave the go ahead for two new high-tech, high-speed railway lines, with the rail ministry announcing on Monday that the construction of a high-speed rail line between Beijing and Shanghai would begin this year and that services would start in 2010. The expected costs for these lines are over 140 billion yuan.
Travel time between China's two most important cities will be cut from around 13 hours to five hours with the trains expected to reach speeds of 350 kms an hour.
Xinhua news agency also this week announced that construction of a 4.3 billion US dollar MAGLEV line -- a high-speed magnetic levitation railway -- would begin this year. The line will link the eastern metropolis of Shanghai with the tourist city of Hangzhou about 175 kms away.
Last year, the government announced that it would spend 250 billion US dollars to upgrade its rail system by 2020 with the Beijing-Shanghai line -- the first of the north-south high speed lines -- and Shanghai-Hangzhou rail lines paving the way.
All the new lines will be double track and by 2020 China should have separate networks for passenger travel and cargo, it said.
Other high speed lines to be built include the north-south routes of Beijing-Wuhan-Guangzhou-Shenzhen, Beijing-Shenyang-Harbin (Dalian) and Hangzhou-Ningbo-Fuzhou-Shenzhen, Xinhua said.
The four east-west routes include Xuzhou-Zhengzhou-Lanzhou, Hangzhou-Nanchang-Changsha, Qingdao-Shijiazhuang-Taiyuan and Nanjing-Wuhan-Chongqing-Chengdu, it added.
Meanwhile, the regional inner-city networks will be built in the Yangtze River Delta near Shanghai, the Pearl River Delta in southern Guangdong province and the Bohai Bay rim near the cities of Beijing and Tianjin.