China to further railway construction in western regions

15:50, November 24, 2009      

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China will invest more than1.5 trillion yuan in railway construction and increase the existing operating mileage of railways in its western regions by 20,000 kilometers in the coming 10 years, that's 50,000 kilometers in the region by 2020. China's total railway length will top 120,000 kilometers by 2020, said Yan Hexiang, deputy director of the development planning department of the Ministry of Railways.

Since the implementation of the strategy, the operating mileage of railways in the western regions jumped 50 percent from 20,000 kilometers to nearly 30,000 kilometers at the end of 2008, accounting for 36 percent of China's total operating mileage.

And since the implementation of the western development strategy, railway construction in China's western regions has made great progress. In 2008, railways in 12 provinces of western regions have delivered 29,556 passengers and 109,350 tons of cargo, up 63 percent and 200 percent respectively compared with 10 years ago, which made great contributions to the economic and social development in the western regions.

The investment in railway construction in China's western regions has reached 302.63 billion yuan, accounting for 40 percent of the total national investment in railway construction and it played an important role in implementation of the West Development Strategy and enhancement of cooperation in areas, as well as providing more jobs in western regions, Yan said.

Since the implementation of the strategy, the capability of railway's passenger and cargo transport is upgrading steadily. And to support the development of tourism in the western regions, the railway departments have re-optimized the tourist trains' plan, forming 45 running lines bridging the large and medium cities and western tourism regions.

In addition, as a symbol of the "West Development Strategy", the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has transported 8.3 million passengers and 62.21 million tons of goods in three years, which made great contribution for the economic and social development in Tibet Autonomous Region. Statistics show that the GDP of Tibet Autonomous Region rose by 14 percent in 2007 and 10.1 percent in 2008 respectively. So Qinghai-Tibet railway is also affectionately known as the railway towards prosperity, unity and happiness, Yan said.

By People's Daily Online
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