China plans to invest 350 billion Yuan (US$42 billion) to build 7,000 kilometers of railways during the Tenth Five-Year Plan period (2001-2005).
Both the amount of investment and the length of new railways exceed the level of the Ninth Five-Year Plan period (1996-2000), according to the Ministry of Railways.
Under the plan, about 270 billion Yuan will be used to construct railway networks including eight trunk lines from east to west and another eight lines from north to south, as well as a network in west China with the Qinghai-Tibet Railway as the key line.
After the construction completes, China's total railways in operation will extend 75,000 kilometers.
Another 80 billion Yuan will be used to purchase and upgrade locomotives and cars to increase the number and speed of trains in the five years, when passengers will feel more comfortable traveling by train.
The ministry predicted that the demand for passenger and cargo transport in China would have an annual increase of 4.4 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, from 2001 to 2005.
(People's Daily 06/15/2001)