New Beijing-shenzhen Railway±±¾© ÉîÛÚ
Railway to cut journey time by half By Fu Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2006-08-03 06:37
Work has begun on a new passenger railway linking Beijing with South China's economic powerhouse, Shenzhen in Guangdong Province.
The first trains are expected to start running on the new line by 2010, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner, said yesterday.
Total investment in the 2,300-kilometre railway could reach 220 billion yuan (US$27.5 billion), according to the commission.
(The distance from Boston to Miami is about 1,150 miles.)
Running almost parallel to the current north-south Beijing-Guangzhou railway, the new line will also pass provincial capitals Shijiazhuang, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Changsha, and Guangzhou. (Brown line on the left)
The track will be designed for trains to travel at least 200 kilometres per hour, doubling the speed for the current line.
It will allow passengers to travel between Beijing and Shenzhen in about 10 hours, said Song Chaoyi, deputy director of the NDRC's Communications and Transportation Department.
The current rail journey between Beijing and Guangzhou takes 24 hours.
Song said the current railway is overloaded with passengers, particularly during peak travel periods such as the Spring Festival, or the National Day and May Day holidays.
There are more than 200 trains running on the current railway every day.
v "When the new one is completed, it will help relieve the pressure on the Beijing-Guangzhou railway," he said.
After the new line is built the old one will be devoted to cargo.
Construction on sections of the railway has already started, with workers first beginning to prepare the ground as early as 2004.
However, the NDRC has only now decided to unveil its blueprint for the entire project.
Construction of the 100 billion yuan (US$12.5 billion) Wuhan-Guangzhou section was the first to start in 2004, and work began on the Shenzhen-Guangzhou section at the end of last year.
Construction of the Beijing-Shijiazhuang section was approved early this year, with an investment of 25 billion yuan (US$3.1 billion), but has not started yet.
The NDRC also approved the construction of the 838-kilometre Shijiazhuang-Wuhan section, with an investment of 74.3 billion yuan (US$9.3 billion).
The Ministry of Railways said investment from various channels is encouraged.
"We encourage investors from home and abroad and we think it will be a profitable railway," said a ministry official who identified himself only as Huang.
According to the ministry's initial calculations, the total investment will be retrieved within six years of the line going into use.
(China Daily 08/03/2006 page1)
Foreign investors will be invited to join a $27 billion rail project to connect Beijing with the southern economic hub of Shenzhen. "We encourage investors from home and abroad and we think it will be a profitable railroad," a Railroad Ministry official, surnamed Huang, was quoted as saying in the newspaper's report. The total investment would be recovered within six years of the start of services on the line, Huang said. The project is separate from another multibillion-dollar railroad project to be built between Beijing and Shanghai. This project is also expected to be completed by 2010 and is open to foreign investment.
(See red dotted line in map above.)
The line from Beijing to Shanghai is expected to cut travel time between those cities, China's two most important, to around 5 hours from 13, with the trains expected to reach speeds of 350 kilometers an hour.