Project not yet approved
In responding to recent media stories that the State has approved construction of Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway, an official from the high-speed railway office under the Ministry of Railways says the construction, as a key project for the 10th Five-year Plan period (2001-05), can be approved only after it has undergone studies and discussions by the State Council and the National People's Congress.
By now the ministry has not received any news about the formal approval of the project. The official stresses that the document submitted is only a "feasibility study report", which analyses the advantage of the project to national development but doesn't involve any concrete construction plan.
Traditional track vs maglev
Experts have divided views on the concrete plan of the railway line, that is, by adopting traditional track or magnetic levitation? Since there is still not a maglev rail actually put into commercial operation in the world, therefore, discussion on the feasibility study report is focused mainly on traditional tracks which are quite mature both technically and commercially.
In last March construction of the demonstration magnetic line linking Shanghai Pudong Airport and the Longyang station of No2 subway line was kicked off, which is expected to open to traffic by 2003. By then experts will make further discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of traditional track and magnetic rail respectively to finally decide on which technique is to be used for building the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway.
The official reveals that, as China's first high-speed railway, the future Beijing-Shanghai line will be shorter than the existing one and extend over 1300 km in length. It will run 250-300 km/hr if traditional track is adopted, or 450-500 km/hr if magnetic rail is used.