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Cost of Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway May Rise 50%
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Work on the high-speed railway between Beijing and Shanghai appears to have been delayed as the original budget underestimated the cost of construction by more than 50 percent, reported the China Business Times on Thursday.


Originally expected to require an investment of 130 billion yuan (US$16.6 billion) the Shanghai-Beijing Express Railway is now expected to cost 200 billion yuan (US$25.64 billion), reported the newspaper.


Construction was expected to begin in 2006 but the project has not yet received State Council approval, said the newspaper.


The Ministry of Railways had planned to complete construction within five years and have high-speed trains running by 2010.


The newspaper said the higher cost estimate means the project may need to be approved by the National People's Congress.


At the beginning of 2006, Ministry of Railways engineer, He Huawu, estimated the railway would cost 100 million yuan per kilometer, only a third of the cost of a similar railway built in the Republic of Korea. According to the ministry, trains on the Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway will reach speeds of 350 kilometers per hour, shortening the trip by nine hours to five hours.


Trains now running between China's two largest cities have a speed limit of between 140 and 160 kilometers per hour.


(Xinhua News Agency January 5, 2007)


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