After a decade of preparation, construction will soon begin for the Beijing-Tianjin inter-city passenger rail line, according to an announcement on Sunday by Railway Minister Liu Zhijun at the National Railway Technology Conference.
Liu revealed that China will build 7,000 km passenger lines by 2010, which together with the 12,000 km existing lines, would basically form a high-speed, passenger transport network covering most areas of China. The Beijing-Tianjin fast rail, with a designed speed of 300 kmp, will be fully operational before August 2008, when the Beijing Olympic Games open. Other special passenger lines constructed for a speed of 350 kmp are under way, including Harbin-Dalian, Wuhan-Guangzhou, Zhengzhou-Xi’an, and Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Lines.
More funds for technological research will be put into the railway system, considering the high standards, large scale, difficult engineering and sophisticated technologies in the construction of these lines. As learned from the conference, during the 11th Five-year Plan period, (2006-10) no less than 0.5 percent of annual railway transportation income should be put into technological research and testing. In 2006, the state realized an income of 236.6 billion yuan; therefore, at least 10 billion yuan will be set aside for technological research.