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China to build more high-speed railways (2)

(Xinhua)

08:43, October 03, 2012

"Over the past 15 years, China has raised the speed of its conventional lines six times, leaving little room for further improvements," said Wang.

"It will be very dangerous if we continue to raise the speed of conventional lines. Therefore, we must build new dedicated passenger lines."

Passenger trains have shared the same tracks as freight trains since the creation of China's rail system. The shared railroad system has made it difficult to meet market demand on busy lines.

World Bank figures show that China has by traffic volume the world's second business freight railway and the busiest passenger railway.

Wang noted that China had only 93,000 km of railways by the end of 2011. "The railway mileage per capita is shorter than the length of a cigarette."

"The railway density in China is far from adequate to serve the world's second-largest economy," he said.

Ye Tan, a well-established economic commentator in China, said the creation of a high-speed network will leave more conventional lines free to carry cargo and meet market demand.

She also eyed high-speed railways as an alternative to replace the property sector to create jobs and drive China's flagging economic growth, which cooled to 7.6 percent in the second quarter, the lowest in the past three years.

While construction slowed down after the Wenzhou accident, the Chinese high-speed railway sector has seen some breakthroughs in research and development and international cooperation in past months.

In August, China's North Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation Limited delivered to Siemens AG a batch of high-speed train compartments worth 14.3 million U.S. dollars, marking the first such export to Europe.

In April, China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation Limited won a bid to provide high-speed trains for Hong Kong.

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