The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved loans totaling US$500 million for China to build a 377-kilometer east-west trunk railway, the largest loan the ADB has ever offered China.
The ADB-funded railway runs from Yichang, Hubei Province, central China, to Wanzhou, Chongqing Municipality, in southwest China, running through eight mountainous counties, five of which are economically under-developed.
Some of the loans will be used to build auxiliary facilities for power transmission, cargo storage, and telecommunications, loading equipment and train control systems along the route.
The Yichang-Wanzhou railway will shorten the length of several north-south and east-west routes in China, and is expected to playa key role in promoting economic development in western China and areas along the route, sources with the Ministry of Railways said.
The ADB also granted US$150,000 for wild animal protection in areas the railway traverses.
Costing US$2.36 billion, the railway is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.
The Ministry of Railways and the State Development Bank will fund the remainder of the required investment.
(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2004)