High-speed rail network set to take global lead

08:53, January 08, 2010      

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Workers at the Lushan station in Jiangxi province lay tracks for the express rail running between provincial capital Nanchang and Jiujiang on Monday. The line is China's second inter-city express rail after the Beijing-Tianjin link. Hu Guolin

China is well on its way to becoming the high-speed railway capital of the world, with 33,000 km of these railways currently under construction and about 70 projects slated to launch this year.

By the end of 2012, China's high-speed railway is expected to account for half of the world's total length.

Currently, 2.1 trillion yuan ($300 billion) worth of rail construction projects are under way.

In the next three years, 26,000 km of new lines, including 9,200 km of high-speed lines, will be put into operation to ease the pressure on the country's overburdened rail network, said Liu Zhijun, Minister of Railways.

China's dominance in the high-speed railway market is remarkable, said Yang Hao, professor in railway transport with Beijing Jiaotong University.

"No matter the length of high-speed railways, or the operation speed of our high-speed trains, China now dwarfs other countries," Yang said.

Though many of the advanced technologies used in high-speed railways were imported from France, Japan and Germany, "China has learned them fast, and China also has its advantage in industrial integration", he said.

By 2013, 800 bullet trains will be churned out to zip through the cities at a speed of at least 250 km/h, the minister said. Also, a new-generation high-speed train, which insiders said is built to run up to 380 km/h on the future Beijing-Shanghai high-speed link, is also expected to roll off the production line and complete comprehensive tests this year, he said.

The country should also clinch more deals in the global railway market this year, the minister said yesterday.

This is the first time the goal is put into the minister's annual work report, which reviews achievements in the past year and sets new goals for next year.

Liu urged various railway enterprises to go out as a whole to establish and promote China's rail standards and forge its rail brand.

"Based on our technology and industrial integration advantages, we should try to boost international cooperation this year," he said.

China launched its first 350 km/h high-speed railway between Beijing and Tianjin in August 2008 before the Beijing Olympics. Late last month, China's first long-distance high-speed rail, the 1,068-km Wuhan-Guangzhou railway, was also put into operation.

So far, State leaders and delegates from more than 100 countries have visited the Beijing-Tianjin high-speed rail, and many have expressed interest in cooperating with China to build high-speed rail.

Last year, China signed memoranda of understanding with several countries, including the United States and Russia, in high-speed rail cooperation.

Experts said China stepping ahead of these countries in developing low-emission high-speed railways could help it attract potential partners.

The cooperation is also "never one way", as both sides can benefit from the cooperation, Yang said.

Source:China Daily
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