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China to invest $119 billion in railway in 2019, to ready 30,000 km high-speed tracks

The total expansion plan for 2019 is 6800 km, Lu said, adding of which 3200 km will be high-speed tracks for trains that can ply over 300 km per hour.

world Updated: Mar 13, 2019 20:43 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
China railway,Sichuan-Tibet railway,China rail tracks
China has plans to rapidly expand its railway network including high-speed train tracks across the country in 2019. (AP File Photo)

China has plans to rapidly expand its railway network including high-speed train tracks across the country in 2019, officials have said, adding that the feasibility study for one of its flagship projects, the Sichuan-Tibet railway will also be completed by June this year.

The government is ready with a massive $119 billion investment for the railway sector, Lu Dongfu, the Communist Party of China (CPC) chief for China Railway Corporation (CRC) said during the ongoing Two Sessions, China’s annual Parliament session.

The total expansion plan for 2019 is 6800 km, Lu said, adding of which 3200 km will be high-speed tracks for trains that can ply over 300 km per hour.

By the end of 2017, China had built and put into service 127,000 km of railway, up 150 percent from 1978 when the country started its reform and opening-up, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had said last year.

Clearly holding the pride of place in the sector, the statistics for China’s high-speed train track record is a “miracle”, said a state media report on Wednesday.

“Since the first high-speed train at a designed speed of 350km/h put into service in 2008, China has cumulatively constructed 29,000-km of high-speed railway, which occupies more than two-thirds of world’s total mileage, creating a miracle in engineering construction,” the CPC mouthpiece, People’s Daily reported.

The benefits of the high-speed railway are reaching the people, it said.

“The popularisation of China’s bullet trains has greatly benefited the Chinese people. Some 9.95 billion trips were made by the end of last month with an annual increase over 30 percent,” it added.

Lu spoke about the Sichuan-Tibet railway in particular. “The engineering feasibility study report on the Sichuan-Tibet Railway is expected to be finished by June this year and construction will start soon afterward,” Lu said.

The railway climbs from southwest China’s Sichuan province, which is located several meters above sea level, to the “Roof of the World” of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in southwest China, which has an attitude of over 4,400 meters.

First Published: Mar 13, 2019 20:21 IST