High-speed rail to link Chengdu and Chongqing

16:32, January 14, 2010      

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A high-speed railway linking Chengdu and Chongqing will be built in the first half of 2010, local authorities in Chongqing announced Thursday, China News Service's website reported.

"Once the railway opens, it will take only 56 minutes to travel by train between the two cities," said Wen Tianping, spokesman of Chongqing municipality government, at a news conference.

According to Wen, the 305-kilometer-long high speed railway is a passenger dedicated line and there will be ten stations along the whole route. The project is expected to be finished within 4 to 5 years.

Wen said the railway will be co-invested by the Ministry of Railway, Sichuan province and Chongqing municipality. Another local newspaper Chongqing Economic Times also reported Thursday the estimated investment is 39.89 billion yuan ($5.85 billion).

The maximum designed speed of the railway is 350km/h, the top standard in China's high speed railway network. Currently, only the Beijing-Tianjin and Wuhan-Guangzhou high speed rails are capable of handling 350km/h trains. The Zhengzhou-Xi'an line could also reach such a high speed and is expected to open soon.

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, and Chongqing municipality are both major cities in China's southwest and the planned high speed railway linking them is expected to boost the economic development of the region.

Currently, it takes about 2 hours to travel between the two cities using the fasted train in operation.

China has an ambitious plan to develop its high speed railway network. The authorities said in 2009 that there will be 42 high speed railway lines in China by 2012. Eight high speed lines have been put into operation with the total mileage of 2,830 kilometers, the longest in the world.

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