6th railway speed-up to start in April

By Xin Dingding (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-11-18 09:46

The sixth massive speed-up of China's railways will start from April 18 next year, with trains running on trunk lines at a speed of 200 kilometres per hour, the Ministry of Railways announced on Friday.

Hu Yadong, vice-minister of railways, told a press conference that the acceleration would cut travelling time between Beijing and Shanghai from nearly 12 hours to less than 10 hours. Some passenger services between Shanghai and provincial capital cities in Central China will see their travelling times halved.

Meanwhile, the rail network's passenger and cargo transport capabilities are expected to rise by 18 per cent and 12 per cent respectively after the acceleration.

The vice-minister said an 18-day traction test has been completed and the conditions are ripe for the speed hike, the sixth in nine years. In some sections of the trunk lines, the top speed can reach 250 kilometres per hour, he said.

To realize the speed-up, the ministry has spent 26 billion yuan (US$3.25 billion) on the project. "China has mastered the core technology of building trains which run at 200 kilometres per hour. Our scientists have achieved 26 new technology innovations in the project," said Hu.

The ministry will put 600 trains with advanced locomotives on trunk lines next year in three stages, 480 of which are manufactured domestically, benefiting 17 provinces and municipalities.

The advanced locomotives will mainly be used in inter-city passenger rail lines and passenger lines between major cities.

A total of 416 trains with advanced locomotives will serve passengers travelling in the Bohai Rim Region, the Yangtze River Delta area, the Pearl River Delta area, Zhengzhou and Wuhan in Central China, Shenyang, Changchun and Harbin in the northeast and Xi'an in the northwest.

Another 86 trains with advanced locomotives will run during the day between major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, supplementing existing overnight express passenger services, he said.

The new trains will have a streamlined design, and passengers will be able to buy e-tickets for these services in the future.

But ticket prices for services equipped with advanced locomotives will be adjusted "within the scale of the current price of a soft seat ticket of a high-level train," he said without elaborating.

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