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Railways Minister: China to Target High-speed Trains
China's railways sector must develop more high-speed trains through technical innovation to meet the intense competition from other means of transportation that would be growing very fast in the next dozen years, Minister of Railways Fu Zhihuan said Saturday.

Fu said at the sector's national work conference that China's railway industry was facing a critical period for technical innovation, with an increasing proportion of the transport market being shared by buses, airplanes and other vehicles.

According to Fu, the railways sector will begin producing two types of high-speed trains next year that are able to run at a speed of 270 km per hour and 200 km per hour, respectively. The new trains are expected to be operating on the Qinghuangdao-Shenyang passenger express line in north China.

A record speed of 321.5 km per hour was achieved during a trial run of this express line not long ago, the highest ever in the country's railways system.

The minister said China's first high-speed train running at speeds of more than 300 km per hour is expected to run off production line in 2005.

Since 1997, the railway sector has increased train speeds four times to meet market needs. Currently, the speed of passenger trains has risen 25 percent over that in 1997, with some express trains running 140-160 km per hour from 120 km per hour.

During the first 20 years of this century, China's railway sector will develop a high-speed railway allowing trains to run at speeds of over 300 km per hour, and all big cities and transport centers will be linked with high-speed trains.

In addition, China will continue research on railway construction for maglev trains and improve the technical level of the railway industry by adopting more high technology.

Fu said with such efforts, China would upgrade its railway technical equipment in an effort to match or top the level of today's developed countries by the year 2020.

(People’s Daily December 30, 2002)

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