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ADB approves loan for China's east-west railway project
( 2003-12-15 20:39) (Xinhua)

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Monday approved a loan of 500 million US dollars for China's east-west railway projects to relieve the country's serious bottleneck in the rail network.

The project will include a 377-km of electrified single-track railway between Yichang in Hubei Province and Wanzhou in Chongqing Municipality, power facilities freight yards, signaling and communications, maintenance and container handling equipment, and train control systems, the Manila-based ADB said in a statement.

Some 24 new stations will be opened along the route and two existing ones expanded. The railway will shorten various routes across the north-south and east-west axes of the country, providing the fastest land link between Shanghai on the east coast and Chengdu and Chongqing, key growth areas in the west.

"In line with the Government's western development strategy, the project will provide a less costly, more reliable and safe transport between major economic centers, promoting economic development in the isolated project areas along the way," said Hiromi Sakurai, an ADB Financial Specialist.

"A shorter east-west route will also increase the transport capacity in the central corridor and the flow of goods and people, so that not only railway users, but also the nationwide producers and consumers will benefit from better, more, and faster trade."

The track will run through eight counties, five of them poor, across rugged terrain. Importantly, the project will also help reform the sector by promoting greater play in market forces and increased competitiveness.

The total cost of the project is expected to be 2.36 billion dollars and the project is due for completion at the end of 2009.

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