China to spend US$500billion on rail expansion over the next 3 years.
Government sources report that China is planning to spend around $500 billion on further expansion of its high-speed rail system over the next three years. The network will expand from 20,000km of dedicated passenger lines to 30,000km by 2020.
The aim is connect all cities with a population of more than 2 million with a main line, and all cities with more than 5 million people with a high-speed link. This will entail creating a 38,000km system by 2025; the conventional network will expand by another 20,000km.
According to the National Railway Administration, private investors would be invited to participate in funding the expansion, and that rail lines would be used to stimulate economic activity in the poorer western regions, even though initially they would be loss making, these lines will break even over time as the flow of people and goods experience fast growth.
Construction began on the 482km Guiyang to Nanning high-speed railway line in the less developed southwest region at the end of 2017. “This 350km/h link will cut travel time from Nanning to Guiyang from more than 10 hours to about 150 minutes” said Ding Rongfu, chairman of China Railway Airport Construction Group.
This project, which will be complete in 2022, will involve constructing 106 tunnels.
China’s is also continuing to expand its international rail network, opening its first direct line to London on New Year’s Day.
The service runs from the Chinese city of Yiwu, in eastern Zhejiang province, to Barking near London. The journey lasts for an average of 18 days and covers more than 12,000km.
A container can be moved from China to the UK in around 18 days, half the time required to transport it by sea.