A FURTHER 10000 km of new railway is to be built in China, according to the first draft of Chinese Railways 2006-10 master plan which was unveiled by the Ministry of Railways on March 25.

The plan would bring the total length of the CR network to more than 85000 km. It includes 11 new dedicated passenger lines totalling over 5000 km, which will enable operation at higher speeds and release capacity on the existing network for freight. CR is expected to be handling 1·5bn tonnes of coal per year by 2010.

As well as new construction, the plan includes double-tracking work on around 4000 route-km and electrification of a further 6000 km, bringing the total electrified network to 35000 route-km.

Work is expected to get underway in July on a 115 km passenger railway between Beijing and Tianjin, following the signing of an agreement between China’s Ministry of Railways and the two municipalities and a start of work ceremony on March 7.

The 200 km/h line will cut the journey time between the two cities from 70 to 40min, and will enable CR to introduce regular commuter expresses as well as transferring its long-distance trains. Total cost is put at 14·3bn yuan, and the ministry has invited international consortia to participate.

The line is due to be completed by the end of 2007, with services to start in July 2008 for the Olympic Games in Beijing. There will be five intermediate stations, including an interchange at Yizhuang with the planned metro line to Beijing Airport.

Other dedicated passenger lines include a 295 km route between Nanjing and Shanghai, which could form part of the planned Beijing - Shanghai high speed line; Dalian - Changchun; and a 595 km network in the Pearl River delta to connect Zhuhai, Guangzhou and Shenzen.