CONSTRUCTION of the 1307 km Jinghu high-speed line from Beijing to Shanghai is now expected to get under way in 2000. Shen Zhijie, Director General of the High-Speed Railway Pre-Feasibility Study Office at the Ministry of Railways, announced in June that initial design work had been completed, and that the ministry was making ’great efforts’ to start construction within two years. MOR is investigating the possibility of drawing on foreign capital to finance the 100bn yuan project, which is to be built and equipped using a combination of imported technology and the fruits of Chinese research and development.

Aiming to meet the highest international standards whilst serving national transport needs, the Jinghu line will have 24 stations including Tianjin, Jinan, Xuzhou, Bengbu and Nanjing. Shen says the route will serve a region that produces 37·7% of China’s total industrial and agricultural output, with stations an average of 55 km apart. The double-track route will be aligned for 350 km/h operation, although medium and high-speed services will initially run at speeds up to 300 km/h.

The China Academy of Railway Sciences is preparing design and construction specifications for both the line and the trainsets; over the past two years standards have been agreed for the track, bridges and tunnels, and for the route management strategy. Specifications for the signalling and telecommunications are nearing completion, and final parameters have been selected for the rolling stock, although detailed design will depend on the selection of any foreign partners.

Construction of one or two sections will be accelerated to form a test track for refining the high-speed technology. Studies into the Beijing - Tianjin and Shanghai - Nanjing sections are currently under way, and MOR expects to decide by the end of the year which one (or both) will be selected as the test section. CARS Vice-President Zhu Qijie favours the southern option as this will provide an early opportunity to address the challenge of the softer ground conditions found in the Yangtze delta region. o

CAPTION: Beijing - Shanghai is one of CR’s busiest corridors, and construction of a separate high-speed passenger route will help to alleviate conflicts with freight traffic. This GE-built ND5 on an empty coal train is overtaking a local passenger service while it calls at Nanjing