China on Monday began construction on a major regional railway to connect the less-developed southwestern inland Guizhou Province with the southern Guangdong Province, one of the country's economic powerhouses.
The 857-km line starts from Guizhou's provincial capital, Guiyang, running southwards through Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and ending in the port city Guangzhou, Guangdong's capital.
The new line is designed to be a double-track electrified railway and will allow trains to travel at 200 km an hour. With an estimated cost of 85.8 billion (12.6 billion U.S. dollars), the Guiyang-Guangzhou line is expected to be complete and operational in six years.
Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang who attended the ground-breaking ceremony, said the new line, upon completion, would provide a fast rail route with large transport capacity from Guiyang to Guangzhou. It would improve the rail networks in southwestern and southern China by cutting the journey time between the southwest and the Pearl Delta region.
This railway was also expected to help people living along the line shake off poverty and achieve sound and fast economic development, he said.
Zhang demanded workers and engineers protect the environment and respect local customs during construction since the line runs through areas that are home to many people of ethnic minorities and famous for beautiful landscape.
(Xinhua News Agency October 13, 2008)