$500b to boost high-speed rail plan

Goals in­clude ‘re­ju­ve­nat­ing’ west­ern China and coun­try’s econ­omy, trans­porta­tion of­fi­cial says

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By SU ZHOU and LUO WANGSHU

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

“By 2020, more than 80 per­cent of China’s ma­jor ci­ties will be con­nected by high-speed rail­ways,” said Yang Yudong, vice-min­is­ter of trans­porta­tion.

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

In 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 high­speed rail­way, ac­count­ing for 65 per­cent of the world’s to­tal high-speed rail.

In July, the Na­tional De­velop- ment 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 high-speed rail­way net­work still faces chal­lenges, es­pe­cially in the less­de­vel­oped west­ern part of China. Yang, the vice-min­is­ter of trans­porta­tion, said he is con­fi­dent that lines in west­ern China will even­tu­ally be­come prof­itable.

“Plus, build­ing high-speed rail­way 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,” said Yang.

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, said 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 Thurs­day on a high-speed rail line link­ing Guiyang, Guizhou prov­ince — a trans­porta­tion hub con­nect­ing mem­bers of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions — and Nan- ning, the 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 rail­way will ac­cel­er­ate com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween China and ASEAN coun­tries and play an im­por­tant role in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

See more

De­vel­op­ment of China’s trans­porta­tion net­work

By the end of 2015, China’s rail­way net­work to­taled 121,000 km, rank­ing sec­ond in the world. It has the world’s long­est high­speed rail­way net­work, to­tal­ing 19,000

Con­tact the writ­ers at suzhou@chi­nadaily.com.cn



The world’s high­est bridge, at 565 me­ters, opened on Thurs­day at the border of South­west China’s Guizhou and Yun­nan prov­inces. By the end of last year, China’s high­ways to­taled 4.58 mil­lion km.

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