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Official denies mass suspension of China's high-speed railway construction

(Xinhua)

16:38, March 09, 2012

BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- China's high-speed railway construction was not suspended massively and the achievements in railway transportation should not be denied despite some mistakes, a senior railway official said Friday.

Construction of key railway projects will be guaranteed and continued, said Wu Qiang, director of the transportation unit of the Ministry of Railways.

"Investment in railways will total 500 billion yuan (79.37 billion U.S. dollars) this year, and the money used for railways under construction is assured," Wu, a deputy to the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, said while participating in this year's parliamentary session.

Wu said China's high-speed railway has a promising outlook.

In 2011, a total of 440 million passengers were transported through the country's 18 high-speed railway lines, almost double the figure in 2010, according to Wu.

Average occupancy rate of high-speed trains was 60 percent during the normal time as against 80 percent during the peak time of holidays, Wu said.

"Generally speaking, high-speed railways are worth developing as a more environmentally-friendly and more efficient industry," Wu said.

"However, we need to continuously adjust and improve its development to make it more scientific and sustainable, because China's high-speed railway is growing very fast," he added.

China's high-speed railway construction suffered a major setback last year when two bullet trains collided in east China's Zhejiang Province, leaving 40 passengers dead and 172 others injured.

Sporadic breakdowns or hiccups such as power loss following the incident compounded widespread worries over the safety of the country's high-speed railway system.

Wu said China's high-speed railway technologies are maturing after six speed hikes, during which a lot of expertise were accumulated in regard to railway lines, traction and its power-supply network.

"The overall development of China's high-speed railways should not be denied because of some mistakes," Wu said.

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