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China planning to open Beijing-Shanghai rail link in 2010
( 2003-08-11 13:36) (Agencies)

China is planning to open the entire section of a new multi-billion dollar high-speed rail line between Beijing and Shanghai in 2010, not in 2008, as had been widely anticipated.

The Chinese government is hoping to start up the entire 1,300 kilometre (813 miles) line in time for the world exposition in Shanghai in 2010, the leading Japanese business daily Nihon Keizai said in its evening edition on Saturday.

The timetable for the estimated 100 billion yuan (12 billion dollars) rail project was disclosed by a senior Chinese government official, the newspaper said.

China is highly likely to put the project out internationally for tender and is not expected to pick the contractor until early next year, it added.

Chinese state media reported last month that China was "more than 90 percent certain" to choose Japan's bullet-train technology to build the Beijing-Shanghai line against rival systems from France and Germany.

The Chinese government has not made public a firm timetable for the project but it was widely speculated that the line would be put into operation in time for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the daily said.

Construction must start this year if it should be completed by 2008, the report added.

But the Chinese side apparently wants to take time to compare construction costs and other terms, including the transfer of technologies, to be offered by Japan, France or Germany, the report said.

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