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Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway to be China's own brand
Latest Updated by 2006-03-17 15:32:34
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Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway to be China's own brand

Minister of Railway Liu Zhijun has announced recently that Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway project has been finally approved after sufficient feasibility studies. The move shows that the artery railway linking the two most important cities in China is ready for construction and it will facilitate the communication between the two major economic zones of the Bohai Sea Rim and the Yangtze River Delta Region.

The two economic zones linked by Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway look like a dumbbell with the Yangtze River Delta Region its head and the railway its arm. The Yangtze River Delta Region is a mature economic zone, which currently undergoes upgrade and expansion. However, the Bohai Rim is a developing economic zone in want of this kind of expansion. Meanwhile, being the cradle of innovation in China, Beijing sees some 15,000 cases of technology exchanges and outward transfer every year. It is an urgent demand to call for the construction of Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway.

Currently, Beijing-Shanghai railway is the busiest line in China and over one quarter of the nation's population lives along the line connecting communication hubs such as Jinan, Bengbu as well as Xuzhou in east China.

Only accounting for two percent of the nation's total railway transport, Beijing-Shanghai railway accounts for 10.2 percent of the nation's passenger transport volume and 7.2 percent of cargo transport volume, four times more than the national average.

The transport capability of Beijing-Shanghai railway has been far behind the growing demand and consequently become the "bottleneck" hampering the economic development of the two regions. The construction of Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway must be carried out.

Sun Yongfu, Vice Minister of Railway noted that like other railways in China, the localization rate of the new railway must be above 70 percent. As of whether the line will employ wheel-track technique or maglev technique, related departments are now drawing up a feasibility report, which will be submitted to the State Council for final approval.

Designed at a speed of 300 km/h, the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway will cut the travel time to 5 hours from the previous 14 if the train makes no stop along the way. It is estimated that the daily passenger flow is expected to hit 220,000.

Trains of Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway, special passenger trains as well as inter-city railway will all depart from Beijing South Railway Station.

Huang Qiang, chief engineer from Chinese Academy of Railway Science noted that passenger and cargo trains will run separately on the future Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway. The body of the train will be made of one whole aluminium alloy board.

"Piecing the small boards together will definitely complicate the technique and its strength cannot meet the set standard," added Huang.

Secondly, the new high-speed train must solve the problem of bird strike accidents. The windshield of locomotive should be capable of enduring extremely violent strike, and in this sense, glass designed for airplane is suitable.

"After numerous tests, the glass for windshield will be made from a special composite material." said Huang.

Huang Qiang further noted that the construction of Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway will take at least eight to ten years or even longer to complete. When open to traffic, the intellectualized trains only need human operation at the starting point and entering into a station, and other operations will be programmed.

Minister of Railway Liu Zhijun also released another important information that the railway will get all the capital needed through market financing, which means non-governmental capital, legal capital as well as foreign investment will all be allowed to enter this profitable "golden railway". In the past, non-governmental capital and foreign investment were only allowed in the construction of some branch lines.

Although Ministry of Railway vowed to finance the project through various channels, the financing system is still imperfect. A large project like Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway that needs over 100 billion yuan or over 12 billion US dollars, how to guarantee the timely allocation of capital is still a question. Judging from the current situation, joint ventures are the main players that compete for high-speed railway equipment bid.

By the end of last year, some companies from Germany, France, Canada and Japan have some similar shares of railway construction in China. If judged from technological perspective, various countries have advantages in terms of techniques; but proceeding from the perspective of national security or benefits of enterprises, Chinese railway cannot merely rely on the techniques from one country and it is a top choice to build the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway with Chinese characteristics

Editor: Yan

By: Source: People's Daily website
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