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UPDATED: 11:21, November 05, 2004
China invests US$12m on Kunming-Hanoi railway
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The Chinese Ministry of Railways said in Kinming, Yunnan province recently that the century-old Kunming-Hanoi railway willnot be abandoned, thanks to the construction of the Yunnan sectionof Trans-Asia Railway linking Kunming and Singapore.

The ministry has decided to spend hundreds of millions of yuan on the old railroad to go on giving scope to its role in passengers transportation and cargo from Kunming to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, notes the latest issue of Yunnan Daily, leading newspaper in Yunnan.

The Chinese Ministry of Railways has attached importance to theKunming-Hanoi rail route and promised to invest 100 million yuan (about 12 million US dollars) to purchase ten new diesel locomotives for the railway in September this year.

To alleviate transportation pressure on cities along the railway, the ministry has also invested 40 million yuan (some 4.8 million dollars) to buy 200 passenger cars for the railway, whose total transportation capacity has reached 7.5 million yuan, and isstill playing a vital role in boosting trade cooperation between Yunnan province and Vietnam.

Liang Zhongyu, chief engineer of the Kunming Railway Bureau, said the Trans-Asia railway is to be rebuilt instead of being expanded or renovated, thus landscape and cultural resources alongthe route will remain intact.

In operation since 1910, the Yunnan-Hanoi railway holds a crucial status in the history of Chinese railways. It has been an vital link between western China and southeast Asia and contributed a great deal in expanding trade between China and Vietnam over the past century.

Each year, the Yunnan provincial railway bureau invests handsomely to improve and upgrade the railway to ensure sound transportation between Yunnan and Vietnam.

The Trans-Asia railway, initiated by former Prime Minister Mahathir of Malaysia in 1995 at an ASEAN summit, was designed to go from Kunming through Laos, Thailand and Malaysia, to Singapore.

These China sections of the railway will be constructed phase by phase through 2015, at a cost of 12.8 billion yuan (some 1.55 billion dollars).

When the Trans-Asia railway is finished, it will form a new, trans-continental rail artery linking Asia and Europe, cutting thetravel distance from China's western areas to the sea by approximately 5,000 kilometers, acknowledged experts.


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