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ADB Supports N. China Railway Project
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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced on Wednesday a loan of US$300 million to help fund construction of a 944-km railway line across north China.

The railway will be the first east-west line connecting Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces, and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and will run from Taiyuan in central Shanxi to Zhongwei and Yinchuan in Ningxia, a relatively poor area, said the China office of ADB.

The Ministry of Railways said construction began in February.

A statement from the ADB said the 3.75-billion-dollar project will feature 520 km of electrified double track from Taiyuan to Dingbian, 232 km of electrified single track from Dingbian to Zhongwei, and 192 km of electrified single track from Dingbian to Yinchuan.

It will include 41 new railway stations, modern safety technology, and electronic and computerized management systems.

Manmohan Parkash, an ADB senior transport specialist, estimated that 6.5 million people living in 22 districts would benefit from the railway.

Half of these areas were considered poor, mainly due to geographical isolation, limited and expensive transport access, and poor access to market information, as well as health, education and other social services.

The ADB has focused on the development of railways in poor, less-developed inland provinces in China to promote sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty.

Since China joined in 1986, the ADB has provided the country 13 loans totaling 2.6 billion dollars to fund the construction of 5,518 km of new railway lines.

(Xinhua News Agency November 30, 2006)

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