A state-level railway trunk line -- the Chongqing- Huaihua Railway in China's landlocked hinterland -- is now on fast-track construction, having used up one sixth of its total investment, or nearly 20 billion yuan (about US$ 2.4 billion), according to sources.
The line, one of the top 10 projects listed by the central government for western development, connects this municipality, in southwest China and Huaihua City in central China's Hunan Province.It is being electrified simultaneously.
Construction started last April. Eventually 2,300 ha of land will be expropriated, and 3,000 households and 50 enterprises will be relocated.
Currently, passengers and freight in Chongqing and Sichuan Province in southwest China have to wind their way northward or southward in order to reach southeastern coastal regions, traveling an extra 270 up to 550 km.
The resource-rich hinterland suffers from backward transportation infrastructure, and so this new rail artery is expected to boost the local economy and contribute to the ambitious government-initiated program of developing the country'swestern areas.
The project will take five years to complete, and is expected to go into operation in June 2005.
( Xinhua News Agency November 25, 2001)