Executive directors of the World Bank's board have given the
green light to a loan of US$200 million to assist expand the
capacity of the railway between China's Guizhou and Yunnan provinces.
The World Bank's office in China said on Tuesday that the
project aimed to provide a major increase in capacity to the
Liupanshui-Zhanyi (Liu-Zhan) section of the Guiyang-Kunming line.
It was also designed to improve passenger services and freight
transport by halving transit times and enabling operation of
double-stack container trains.
The 254-kilometer Liu-Zhan line is at the western end of the
Shanghai-Kunming corridor and crosses the watershed between the
Yangtze and Pearl rivers. It was built as a single track in 1966
and electrified in 1988. It's now operating close to capacity but
below forecasts as the economy in western China continues to
To expand its capacity to and from Yunnan the government plans
to realign the track to allow for higher speeds, 'double-track' at
the section between Liu and Zhan and remodel the Liu terminal
The project will quadruple the capacity of the line, cut travel
times significantly and meet the growing demand for transport
between Guizhou and Yunnan.
John Scales, World Bank transport sector coordinator in Beijing
and manager for the Third National Railway Project, said the
additional capacity required to be developed rapidly.
The World Bank supported the provision of additional capacity,
particularly in the West, together with meeting the challenges of
functioning in a market economy amid growing competition from other
transport options and the greater environmental and energy
efficiency benefits railways offered. The total cost of the project
is approximately 8.8 billion yuan.
In a further development the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is
making a grant of US$500,000 to China for the construction of a new
railway linking Lanzhou in northwestern Gansu Province to Chongqing in the southwest.
The project will involve the construction of 817 kilometers of
electrified line, much of it through mountainous terrain, and 21
stations. Three quarters of the route's length will comprise
tunnels and bridges.
According to the ADB the project area will cover 13
counties and cities with a total population of about 15 million
with two thirds of that being rural.
The majority of people in the area work in low-yield
agriculture. Despite the area's rich natural resources and tourism
potential, poverty is high as the local population is cut off from
mainstream development due to the lack of transport links.
The railway will also connect Xinjiang to Yunnan, Lanzhou to Alashankou and
Chongqing to Hekou on the Vietnamese border.
"The railway will increase local people's access to jobs,
markets and services and give them an opportunity to improve their
living standards," says Manmohan Parkash, ADB Senior Transport
Specialist and project team leader.
The work is a joint venture between the Ministry of Railways and
the Chongqing, Gansu and Sichuan local governments.
Parkash said ADB's strategy for China's railway sector was
focused on expanding the network in underprivileged areas and
modernizing key routes so as to improve efficiency.
(Xinhua News Agency January 30, 2007)