China Focus: New high-speed railway opens before travel peakSouce:Xinhua Publish By Thomas Whittle Updated 30/09/2012 9:54 pm in World / no comments
BEIJING, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) — A new high-speed railway connecting central China’s Zhengzhou City and the eastern city of Wuhan opened on Friday morning, easing traffic pressure ahead of a boom in passenger numbers during the coming National Day holiday.
The railway, referred to as the Zheng-Wu high-speed railway, covers a distance of 536 km and trains will pass along it at a designed speed of 350 km per hour, said its designer, Li Zhengjun with the China Railway Construction Co., Ltd.
With eight stops along the line, the Zheng-Wu high-speed railway has cut the travel time from Zhengzhou to Wuhan from four and a half hours to two hours, said Li, integrating the central China economic zone and the Yangtze River Delta.
Looking at a map of China, the railway runs from north to south, connecting the middle parts of China’s second-longest river –the Yellow River — and the country’s longest one — the Yangtze River.
The Zheng-Wu line has also been linked to other high-speed railways, including Wuhan-Guangzhou, Hefei-Wuhan, and Zhengzhou-Xi’an, forming a high-speed railway network, said Li.
It is hoped that this network will greatly facilitate communication between central and eastern China areas concerning human resources and logistics.
It will also relieve pressure on the network from the National Day holiday travel peak in the coming week.
More than 660 million people are expected to travel during the week-long National Day holiday starting on Sunday, an increase of 8.8 percent from the same period last year, according to a prediction made by the Ministry of Transport last week.
Trains are the mainstream means of transport for Chinese holiday travelers.
Furthermore, Li noted that the opening of the Zheng-Wu high-speed railway will bring new life to cities along the railway.
Xu Keliang, deputy chief engineer of China Railway Construction Co., Ltd., said the successful opening of the line further enriches China’s experience on modern, high-speed railway design and construction.
As for the safety issue of high-speed rail, which has aroused heated debate, Xu said railway authorities have already made a number of tests on the high-speed train, track and running to guarantee safety.
Investment in the Zheng-Wu high-speed railway hit 69.4 billion yuan (11 billion U.S. dollars), with its construction taking about four years, according to Yu Zhuomin, chief of the Wuhan Railway Station Bureau.
Debt has remained high in the railway sector. The Ministry of Railways, the main investor in China’s railway projects, reported a loss of 7 billion yuan in the first quarter, with its debt-to-asset ratio standing at around 60 percent.
As of July 2012, the combined length of China’s high-speed railway has reached 13,000 km, the most out of any other country in the world.
China aims to construct a high-speed railway network with a total operating length of more than 40,000 km by the end of 2015.