Before Olympic tourists benefit from the massive construction of the Beijing
and Tianjin high-speed railway, local residents will be able to enjoy the ride.
A bullet train runs on the
Beijing-Shenyang railway in this 2003 file photo. The high-speed railway
between Beijing and Tianjin will open before the Olympic Games in Beijing
in 2008. [newsphoto]
The Beijing-Tianjin inter-city passenger rail line will be completed and open
to traffic before August 2008, when the Beijing Olympic Games open.
The train will shuttle passengers between the cities in just half an hour, 45
minutes shorter than the current travel time. The train is designed to go 200
kilometres per hour (kmp), but can reach speeds of 350 kmp.
railway is expected to cost 12.3 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion), said Ma
Zhenhong, a press official with the Tianjin Municipal Communications Commission
in a phone interview.
Earlier reports in the Beijing Times said the Ministry of Railways and the
municipal government of Tianjin have each poured 2.6 billion yuan (US$325
million) into the project, while Beijing gave its share by providing
requisitioned land and paying for resettlement of residents. A company has been
established to manage the construction project.
The construction of the passenger rail line started in July this year. The
construction work will finish before the end of next year, and the railway will
be put into service before August 2008.
"The rail line is an important project to serve the 2008 Beijing Olympic
Games," Ma said.
The Beijing-Tianjin inter-city passenger line is also believed to be the
pilot project of a massive high-speed rail network in China. This will be the
country's first high-standard passenger rail.
With a speed of 300 kilometres per hour, locomotives manufactured by Tangshan
Locomotive Plant in Hebei Province, which uses Germany-based Siemens technology,
will be first put into use on the Beijing-Tianjin inter-city passenger line.
Siemens and Tangshan Locomotive Plant were reported to win a bid together in
2005 to manufacture 60 locomotives with a designed speed of 300 kmp for the
railway ministry. Of these, three locomotives will be entirely imported from
Siemens, and 57 will be domestically made.
Siemens was also reported to have won a contract together with two other
Chinese companies to provide signal, telecommunication and electricity supply
systems for the high-speed rail.
In order to promote economic integration of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region,
China plans to build a two-hour circle to cover major cities in the Bohai Rim
Region. A total of 710 kilometres of inter-city rail lines will be built in the
region's inter-city rail network before 2020.
The Beijing-Tianjin inter-city passenger rail will serve as an axis in the
regional rail network, to meet the soaring demand of travel between the cities.
At present, the municipalities, each with a population over 10 million, are
linked by highways, expressways and rail. The current railway is under pressure,
handling 25.55 million passengers each year.
The new passenger rail line is expected to handle 32 million passengers in
2008 and 54 million passengers in 2015.
At present, there are also three expressways under construction that will
link the two cities.