Archive for October 26th, 2008

China to fight crisis with rail investment

Sunday, 26 October 2008

A segment of the Beijing-Tianjin intercity high-speed
railway under construction on Nov 2007 in Tianjin.
Photo Xinhuanet.

(Click on the picture to read the original China Daily article on the completion of track-laying on the 120 km long Beijing – Tianjin high speed railway in December 2007.)

China’s State Council has approved 2 trillion yuan ($292 billion) for the construction of a series of railway projects, to help boost economic growth amid the worldwide financial crisis. By 2010, the total length China’s railway network will reach 90,000 km an increase of 20% compared to its size in 2006.

About 1.2 trillion yuan ($174 billion) has already been allocated to specific projects, Wang Yongping, spokesman for the Ministry of Railways, said on Friday. Construction work is due to start soon. Zheng Xinli, a senior government policy advisor, said: In 1997, we dealt with the Asian financial crisis by stimulating domestic economic growth by investing in the construction of highways. This time the money will go on improving the rail network.

Slow and relatively poor-quality services and busy trunk lines are the major problems facing China’s railway customers. Insufficient capacity will still be a problem in 2010, but the Ministry of Railways expects this to be solved by 2015. The volume of traffic carried by rail is expected to double with the completion of the trunk line network by in 2010. The railway industry construction boom is expected to last over 10 years.

I suppose it’s too much to hope that a similar strategy might be adopted by the governments of Britain and Poland.

China DailyGov’t sets $300b for railway construction