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$503b earmarked for high-speed railway plan

By Su Zhou and Luo Wangshu ( China Daily Europe )

Updated: 2017-01-06

In the next five years, China will invest 3.5 trillion yuan ($503 billion; 478 billion euros; 407.5 billion) to accelerate railway construction, including expansion of the country's high-speed rail network to 30,000 kilometers, a senior official said on Dec 29.

"By 2020, more than 80 percent of China's major cities will be connected by high-speed railways," says Yang Yudong, vice-minister of transportation.

China released a white paper, titled Development of China's Transport, which Hu Kaihong, director of the State Council Information Office's Press Bureau, says is the first to review the sector's tremendous changes in recent decades and to set goals for its future.

 $503b earmarked for high-speed railway plan

The world's highest bridge, at 565 meters, opened on Dec 29 on the border of Guizhou and Yunnan provinces. In the past few years, China's railway network, especially high-speed lines, has undergone dramatic change. He Junyi / For China Daily

Over the past few years, China's railway network, especially high-speed rail, has undergone dramatic change. From 2011 to 2015, China invested 3.58 trillion yuan to build 30,000 km of railway. By the end of this year, the nation's total railway length will reach 124,000 km, including 20,000 km of high-speed railway, accounting for 65 percent of the world's total high-speed rail.

In July, the National Development and Reform Commission issued an updated national railway development plan envisioning a 175,000-km rail network by the end of 2025, with 38,000 km of high-speed rail.

However, the network still faces challenges, especially in the less-developed western part of China. Yang says he is confident that lines in western China will eventually become profitable.

"Plus, building high-speed railways in less-developed regions is not only about recouping investment. It is part of the big project of rejuvenating the whole region and the country's economy.

The high-speed rail linking Beijing and Shanghai showed a profit last year, Xinhua News Agency reported in July, quoting Tianjin Railway Construction Co, a shareholder of Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway Co.

Yang Hao, a professor of rail transportation at Beijing Jiaotong University, says the economic returns of a high-speed railway network shouldn't be judged solely on whether lines are profitable, since these railways can leverage the development of such industries as tourism, logistics and real estate.

According to China Railway Corp, construction began on Dec 29 on a high-speed line linking Guiyang, Guizhou province - a transportation hub connecting members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations -and Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

The 482-km line will connect the Shanghai-Kunming railway and the Chengdu-Guiyang railway to the north, and will also link to southern coastal areas including Hainan province and Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

The new will accelerate communication between China and ASEAN countries and play an important role in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Contact the writers at suzhou@chinadaily.com.cn

Transportation in China

Development of China's transportation network


$503b earmarked for high-speed railway plan

By the end of 2015, China's railway network totaled 121,000 km, ranking second in the world. It has the world's longest high-speed railway network, totaling 19,000 km. By 2020, China will expand its high-speed railway network to 30,000 km, connecting more than 80 percent of its big cities.


$503b earmarked for high-speed railway plan

By the end of last year, China's highways totaled 4.58 million km, and the country ranked No 1 in the world in expressway construction.

Civil aviation

$503b earmarked for high-speed railway plan

China had 210 civil airports by 2015, for which 26 handle more than 10 million passengers annually, and 51 handle over 10,000 metric tons of cargo and mail each year.


$503b earmarked for high-speed railway plan

At the end of last year, China's ports had more than 31,000 quay berths for production use, and the number of berths for 10,000 tons or above reached 2,221.

China Daily European Weekly 01/06/2017 page14)

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