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Construction of high-speed rail kicks off in NW China city

(Xinhua)

19:33, December 30, 2011

XI'AN, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Construction started Thursday on a high-speed rail linking the city of Xi'an, home of the Terracotta Warriors, with the city's airport.

The 27.3-km express rail with a construction budget of 9 billion yuan (1.4 billion U.S. dollars) will allow trains to run at 100 km per hour, and is scheduled to be completed in four years, according to sources with the provincial government of Shaanxi in northwest China.

The rail, featuring both an overhead section and an underground part, is designed to have nine stations connecting the Xianyang International Airport with a high-speed railway station and the Beikezhan (north railway station) in Xi'an, Shaanxi's capital.

The line will shorten the one-way trip to the airport from one hour to under 30 minutes upon its completion by 2015.

The Xianyang airport on Wednesday became the latest in China to host the superjumbo Airbus 380, following airports in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

The airport is currently undergoing an expansion of its T3 terminal. Once the expansion project is finished in March 2012, the airport will boast an annual passenger handling capacity of 50 million people.

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