PROPOSALS to develop a 1380 km rail corridor paralleling the border with North Korea were unveiled by the Chinese government at the beginning of February. To be built over 15 years, the line is expected to revitalise primary industries in the run-down northeast of the country and open up another corridor for international trade.

According to the Ministry of Railways, the line will serve an area of 220000 km2 with 18 million inhabitants in 10 cities and 30 counties across the provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang. The new line will connect up 11 isolated branch lines and local railways serving the local mining and timber industries.

Starting from the port of Dalian, the line will run northeast along the coast through Zhuanghe to Dandong, where the CR network already connects with North Korea Railway at Sinuiju. The route will then connect up existing branch lines parallelling the border through Tonghua to reach Tumen on the Changchun - Vladivostok route. Turning north, the corridor will follow the Suifenhe river to the town of the same name, where an existing cross-border line provides a connection to the Trans-Siberian Railway at Ussuriysk.

Construction of the railway will be funded by the state as part of a US$7·4bn programme to spur industrial and commercial regeneration across the northeast region, which was announced on February 3. n