Work on the high-speed rail link between Beijing and Shanghai will start anytime soon, Shanghai Railway Administration director Wu Qiang said yesterday.
The new line is expected to cut the travel time from 10 to 5 hours and strengthen the ties between the two major economic hubs of the Bohai Rim and the Yangtze River Delta.
Ticket prices have yet to be finalized, but the authorities will definitely consider passengers' affordability, Wu said.
Several shorter railway lines linking Shanghai and other cities in the Yangtze River Delta region that have also been approved will bring the country's major economic powerhouses closer, Wu said.
An expanded railway network could "help us handle disasters" such as the heavy snow before Spring Festival with greater ease, Wu said.
The Beijing-Shanghai railway, which will cost about 160 billion yuan ($21 billion), will double the transport capacity after its completion in 2013.
The National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planning body, has approved plans to build a high-speed passenger railway to link Shanghai with Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, and Nanjing and Nantong in Jiangsu province.
Work on the 39.45-billion-yuan ($5.52 billion) Shanghai-Nanjing line could start as soon as next month, Wu said. The line will be completed in four years and shorten travel time on the 300-km route from two hours to just 72 minutes.