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Chinese Railways Carry Record Passengers, Freight
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Chinese railways carried 218 million passengers between April 18 to June 18, an increase of 4.7percent from the same period last year, said the Ministry of Railways.


China boosted its railway speed for the sixth time on April 18 and 286 trains now run at speeds of up to 250 kilometers per hour every day.


The country's railways have had no major accidents during the two-month speed-boost trial period, the ministry said, adding that99.9 percent of the trains started on time while 99.3 percent arrived on time


Meanwhile, rail freight turnover totaled 526 million tons in the past 60 days, up 7.7 percent from the same period last year.


China plans to put more than 500 high-speed trains into operation by the end of the year and expects to increase passenger capacity on the nation's 77,000-km of rail lines by 18 percent andfreight capacity by 12 percent, according to the ministry.


In 2006, China made up a quarter of the world's total railway transport volume, while its total track was only six percent of the world's total, said spokesman with the ministry.


Before the first speed boost in 1997, trains could travel at a maximum speed of 140 kilometers per hour.


According to the ministry, rail passenger turnover hit 662.2 billion person-kilometers last year, 3.8 times the combined figures of the United States and Russia.


Meanwhile, rail freight turnover reached 2.87 billion tons lastyear, about one billion tons more than that of the United States, which ranked the second.


(Xinhua News Agency June 21, 2007)


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