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High-speed boost to railways, CRC
By Tong Hao (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-05-25 08:01

Northeastern Jilin province is building China's largest manufacturing base for high-speed trains to meet the country's growing need for speedy railway transport.

The base is scheduled for completion in June next year and will have an annual production capacity of 500 ordinary passenger train cars, 800 China Railway High-speed (CRH) train cars (for trains with speeds of more than 200 kilometers an hour) and 800 intra-city train cars (for trains with speeds of more than 120 km an hour).

The manufacturing base was launched last May. Changchun Railway Vehicles Co Ltd (CRC), in the capital city of Jilin, will spend 2.5 billion yuan to complete the project.

The cars for the new Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail trains (the first that will run over 350 km an hour) will be built in the base by October 2010.

According to the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010), the number of CRH trains will increase to about 1,000 in 2010. There are currently 200 in the country, most of which started service in 2007.

The five-year plan also urges technological upgrading of high-speed trains, raising the percentage of homemade parts in the trains and speeding up research and development (R&D).

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The manufacturing base includes a test center and R&D laboratory and CRC works with France's Alsthom Ltd and Germany's Siemens to design and produce the trains, according to the company's website.

The percentage of homemade parts in the trains for the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail produced by CRC will likely be 85 percent, said the

According to a news release during this year's National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in March, 45 percent of the 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package unveiled last year, or 1.8 trillion yuan, will be allocated for building railways, roads and airports. Demand for trains, especially high-speed trains, is high.

China invested 118.04 billion yuan in fixed railway assets during the first four months of 2009, a 127.9 percent year-on-year increase, according the Ministry of Railways (MOR) website.

Liu Zhijun, minister of Railways said in a meeting on Dec 31, 2008 that total investment in the railway network in 2009 would be 600 billion yuan in 2009, almost twice as much as in 2008.

Liu said the ministry currently has 70 railway projects planned for 2009 and 5,148 km of rail line will be built this year.

The MOR will spend 500 billion yuan purchasing trains over the next four years as the rail network continues to develop, the MOR said earlier in 2008.

In March 2009, the MOR made a 39.2 billion yuan purchasing agreement with China CNR Corp Ltd, the controlling company of CRC. According to the agreement, CNR will produce 100 high-speed trains (40 from CRC) for the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed Railway, which will be put into operation in 2011.

Demand for trains on the new Beijing-Shanghai line will probably grow quickly and the MOR will likely purchase more high-speed trains, according to Zhang Shuguang, chief of the transportation department of the MOR.

The new Beijing-Shanghai line is part of the seventh rail system upgrade in China since 1997.

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