China’s Ministry of Planning has announced its intention to construct 30,000km of tracks by 2020. The Chinese rail network plans will extend the total track length of China’s railways to 150,000km. 11,000km of this will be dedicated to high speed trains, bringing the total length of high speed rail track to around 30,000km.
The announcement comes after the National Development and Reform Commission issued a national railway development plan on 20 July 2016 which sets out plans for a 175,000km rail network by 2025, 38,000km of which will be dedicated to high speed rail.
This rapid expansion began in 2008, following the opening of China’s first high speed line between Beijing and Tianjin. Since then, five billion journeys have been made on China’s high speed lines. Ridership has increased by 30% year on year. Around 4,200 bullet trains operate in China every day, delivering four million passenger journeys.
Zhang Dawei, deputy head of the ministry’s planning department, said:
“We will accelerate the construction of railways in central and western parts of China. We will also boost the expansion of intercity and suburban rail links,” he said.
“By the end of 2020, more than 80 percent of mainland cities with populations of at least 1 million will be covered by high-speed railways.”
Wang Xianqing, director of the Institute of Logistic Economics at Guangdong University of Finance and Economics, said:
“The government plans to boost industries involved in high-speed rail and turn them into a new economic driving force,” he said. “The new railway development plan encourages private enterprises to invest in railways, which will generate opportunities for them.”
As well as expanding China’s rail network, CRRC is also constructing a next-generation bullet train, which will run at up to 400 km/h. This ultrafast train will also be capable of adjusting its wheels to fit various gauges on foreign tracks, making it ideal to operate cross-border services.
Currently, China has 121,000km of operational track, 19,000 of which is high speed. More than 60% of the world’s high speed rail lines are located in China. The rapid development of high-speed rail in China has stimulated clustrs of economic and realestate development
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