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Zhejiang to Invest Heavily in Railway Construction

Some 100 billion yuan (about US$12.1 billion) is expected to go to railway construction in east China's Zhejiang Province in six years, according to a meeting document signed by Zhejiang provincial government and the Chinese Ministry of Railways.

This move will make Zhejiang become the first province in China enjoying the most advanced railway network by the year 2010.

According to the province's railway development plan, with somenew railroads to be built, express trains may run directly through the province to the southern Chinese provinces, forming a major railway artery linking China's top two economic rings, the Shanghai-centered Yangtze River Delta and the Guangzhou-centered Pearl River Delta.

The province also decided to connect all of its cities with railways. In addition, some major railway lines like the Shanghai-Hangzhou and other trans-province lines will be improved into electric railways by 2010.

Sources from the provincial government said construction of some electric railways has kicked off. The Zhejiang-Jiangxi trans-province line, for instance, will be changed into the best electric railroad in China on completion.

Earlier this year, the Chinese State Council approved in the country's medium- and long-term plan of railway construction, a record event for China's railway industry.

Under the state plan, railways in operation in China will be extended from the current 72,000 kilometers to 100,000 kilometers by 2020, the ratio of double-track railways and electric lines will both reach 50 percent, and the major railway technology and equipment will reach or near the international advanced level.

The plan also calls for separate lines for cargo and passenger transportation in busy trunk lines, 12,000 kilometers of special lines for passenger trains will be built before 2020, along with express passenger transport systems planned in the Bohai Sea ring,the Yangtze River delta and Pearl River delta.

The Ministry of Railways said that 2004 is the first year to implement the state railway plan, adding that China will see a nation-wide railway construction tide and all provinces will increase investment in railway construction to speed up their railway improvement.

(Xinhua News Agency September 16, 2004)

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