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Party chief: High-speed rail handing city new take-off

(Ma Chenguang)
Updated: 2011-06-15 22:09
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BENGBU: "People from around the world are welcome to invest here amid immense new opportunities, handed by the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway due to open later this month,” said Chen Qitao, party chief of the prefecture-level city of Bengbu, Anhui province.

"The new high-speed rail, which passes the city each day with 47 trains stopping here, is set to bring wider resources to possible investors and the city awaits new take-off,” he said on May 15. Chen was speaking at an occasion marking the opening of railway in Bengbu for 100 years.

Trains on the new 1,318 kilometer line, linking China’s top two municipalities, are expected to run at either 300 km/h or 250 km/h. It is expected the trip will take about four hours and 48 minutes at the quickest; half the time trains currently spend.

In the next 10 to 20 years, Chen said, Bengbu will become a new transport and logistics hub on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed line and build a 100-square-km new region that centers on the Bengbu high-speed railway station. The size of the new station would be equal to the current urban area housing some 1.05 million people.

At present, Bengbu, which has a history dating back to 7,300 years, has a total population of 3.6 million living in three counties and four districts.

During the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) period, the city plans to put around 400 billion yuan ($62 billion) in fixed asset investment to make it into a central city in northern Anhui in East China, said Wang Yongyong, publicity chief of the city. Wang also acts as a member of the Standing Committee of Bengbu City Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Bengbu has already attracted an investment from home and overseas of 13.3 billion yuan during the first quarter this year, affirming that it also spent 15.5 billion on fixed asset investment between January and April, a climb of 39.5 percent over the same period last year.

Bengbu Mayor Zhou Chunyu stressed the opening of the new high-speed rail will give the city a brighter future.

By focusing on opening up to promote development, which in return will benefit the livelihood of local residents, people in Bengbu will enjoy a happier life in the years to come, Wang said. The Beijing-Fuzhou high-speed line, due to open next year, will also have trains that stop in Bengbu.