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China building passenger-only train link between Beijing and Shenzhen


China has begun work on a 220 billion yuan (25 billion U.S. dollars) passenger-only rail link between its capital Beijing and Shenzhen city bordering Hong Kong, the Shanghai Securities News said Friday. The new line, expected to be completed in 2010, will reduce the 2,300- kilometer-trip from the current 24 hours to 10 hours, Song Chaoyi, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission was quoted as saying. The new line will run parallel with the existing Beijing-Guangzhou railway, one of the busiest lines in China, which has been operating beyond capacity, said Song. Once the new line opens for traffic, the existing Beijing-Guangzhou line will only be used for cargo transportation, he said. The section from Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province to Guangzhou, the capital of South China's Guangdong Province, has been under construction since 2004, at an estimated cost of 100 billion yuan (12.5 billion dollars). Work started on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen section at the end of last year.The sections from Beijing to Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei Province, and from Shijiazhuang to Wuhan, have both been approved by the NDRC, the report said. The report quoted an official from the Ministry of Railways as saying that foreign investors are welcome to take part in the project, adding that the entire investment will be recovered in six years. Under the medium and long term railway plan approved by the Chinese government in 2004, the country will have 100,000 kilometers of rail track by 2020, including 12,000 kilometers of passenger-only lines. Another major rail project, the 1,300-kilometer line from Beijing to Shanghai, was approved by the Chinese government earlier this year.

(Source:Xinhua , 2006-08-05)