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China invests US$12m on century-old railway
Updated: 2004-11-05 11:02

The Chinese Ministry of Railways said in Kunming recently that the century-old Kunming-Hanoi railway will not be abandoned, thanks to the construction of the Yunnan section of Trans-Asia Railway linking Kunming and Singapore.

The ministry has decided to spend hundreds of millions of yuan on the old railroad to go on giving scope to its role in passengers transportation and cargo from Kunming to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam

The Chinese Ministry of Railways has attached importance to the Kunming-Hanoi rail route and promised to invest 100 million yuan (US$12 million) to purchase ten new diesel locomotives for the railway in September this year.

To alleviate transportation pressure on cities along the railway, the ministry has also invested 40 million yuan (US$4.8 million) to buy 200 passenger cars for the railway, whose total transportation capacity has reached 7.5 million yuan, and is still playing a vital role in boosting trade cooperation between Yunnan Province and Vietnam.

Liang Zhongyu, chief engineer of the Kunming Railway Bureau, said the Trans-Asia railway is to be rebuilt instead of being expanded or renovated, thus landscape and cultural resources along the route will remain intact.

In operation since 1910, the Yunnan-Hanoi railway holds a crucial status in the history of Chinese railways. It has been an vital link between western China and southeast Asia and contributed a great deal in expanding trade between China and Vietnam over the past century.

Each year, the Yunnan provincial railway bureau invests handsomely to improve and upgrade the railway to ensure sound transportation between Yunnan and Vietnam.

The Trans-Asia railway, initiated by former Prime Minister Mahathir of Malaysia in 1995 at an ASEAN summit, was designed to go from Kunming through Laos, Thailand and Malaysia, to Singapore.

These China sections of the railway will be constructed phase by phase through 2015, at a cost of 12.8 billion yuan (US$1.55 billion).

When the Trans-Asia railway is finished, it will form a new, trans-continental rail artery linking Asia and Europe, cutting the travel distance from China's western areas to the sea by approximately 5,000 kilometers, acknowledged experts.

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