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Suburbs to centre in 20 mins, transport pledge
By Hu Cong (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-22 06:30

SHANGHAI: A new urban rail network will be able to ferry people from the suburbs to downtown Shanghai in as little as 20 minutes, something visitors to the 2010 World Expo will no doubt be grateful for.

The 20-minute claim was made yesterday by Professor Chen Xiaohong, an expert in charge of the expo's transport planning and professor of the College of Transport Planning and Management at Shanghai's Tongji University.

In addition to a crisscross net of subways and light rails that is already under construction, Shanghai will build five large permanent stations in the suburbs in an attempt to shift car drivers onto the mass transport system.

Speaking to China Daily, Professor Chen said: "The World Expo will not put much extra pressure on the central urban transport system, which already serves more than 17 million citizens every day.

"The real challenge is how to smoothly accommodate the influx of visitors from outside Shanghai."

Organizers predict the expo could attract as many as 72.2 million people during its six-month run in 2010, with as many as 800,000 visiting on any single day. Some 35 per cent of visitors will travel from neighbouring provinces in the Yangtze Delta.

Experts have proposed building five inter-city express railway lines linking Shanghai with Nanjing, Hangzhou and other main cities in the neighouring provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang within 15 years. Current lines in the region, already carrying six times more passengers than the country's average, are operating at maximum capacity.

The new rail line between Shanghai and Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu, is undergoing feasibility studies as a first step of the grand plan, Ministry of Railways officials said at a forum in Shanghai on Tuesday.

Shanghai now has two subway lines and a lightrail which running 80 kilometres across the town. It also has a 35-kilometre magnetic-levitation railway leading to the Pudong International Airport, the only maglev line in commercial operation in the world.

Last year Shanghai local government mapped out an ambitious long-term plan that aims to build one of the world's most sophisticated urban rail transport networks. Under the plan, Shanghai will have 17 urban rail lines running through 810 kilometres by 2020, limiting travel between any two rail-covered points in the mega city to within 45 minutes.

By 2010, there will be five new train lines extending the city's rail transport system to 400 kilometres. All these new lines are to run through the World Expo site along Shanghai's Huangpu River, said Chen.

(China Daily 04/22/2005 page3)

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