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New transport hub rises in East China

By PAN ZHONGMING and CANG WEI in Taicang, Jiangsu | China Daily | Updated: 2020-11-10 07:30
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A bullet train barrels toward Taicang, Jiangsu province, in August. [Photo by Ji Haixin/For China Daily]

Taicang, a county-level city in East China's Jiangsu province, is fast emerging as a transport hub in one of China's most prosperous regions.

The 143-kilometer Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong Railway, the long-awaited project that started operations on July 1, is propelling Taicang's fortunes higher.

Under the jurisdiction of Suzhou, Taicang has an area of 810 square kilometers. It faces Shanghai's Chongming Island and borders the metropolis' Baoshan and Jiading districts in the south.

Its location offers Taicang certain advantages. So, many rail and subway lines are under construction to connect Taicang with Shanghai and neighboring cities in the Yangtze River Delta region.

For instance, Taicang's Jiamin subway line, upon its construction, will shorten the travel time between Taicang and downtown Shanghai to just an hour.

Construction has also begun on a rail line linking Shanghai's Situan township with Taicang. Once completed, Shanghai Pudong International Airport will be included in the railway network for the first time.

The Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong Railway, with a designated speed of 200 km/h, enters Shanghai from Nantong through Zhangjiagang, Changshu and Taicang. It is part of the many efforts to promote the integration of the Yangtze River Delta region.

A large number of basic and strategic projects will be implemented in Taicang, according to the country's railway network development plan through 2030 and Jiangsu province's plan for the 2018-25 period.

Jiangsu now has six railway lines under construction, entailing an investment of more than 180 billion yuan ($27.2 billion). Several lines pass through Taicang.

Wang Xiangyuan, mayor of Taicang, said that the city has been fully prepared to embrace the new era of rail transit.

"Taicang's development has been accelerating with the upgrading of transport lines," he said. "The city has planned to build a New Loujiang City within 50 square kilometers around Taicang Railway Station."

New Loujiang City will contain many specialized areas like business centers, and science and educational institutions. It will further help achieve Taicang's three goals: integration with Shanghai; development of ports; and cooperation with Germany.

At its science and education area, the Taicang campuses of Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and Northwestern Polytechnical University started construction in 2019.

"An innovation incubator platform of nearly 400,000 square meters will be established for the two universities," said Jin Liping, president of the Taicang Culture and Education Development Company. "An intelligent manufacturing area will also be constructed."

Close to Taicang South Railway Station and Shanghai's Jiading district, a tourism project featuring ice and snow is under construction. It will offer holiday village views, performances, a theme park and healthcare centers to provide services to 1.03 million people in Taicang and numerous people in East China.

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