CHINA’S MINISTRY of Railways announced on May 9 the go ahead for construction of a 300 km/h passenger railway between Nanjing and Hangzhou, with the aim of starting work by the end of this year.

Due to be completed by 2010, the 251 km line is expected to cost 20·3bn yuan. With the Beijing - Shanghai high speed line and the Shanghai - Hangzhou maglev also due to open in 2010, travel times between the three main cities in eastern China will be cut to around 1h on each leg of the triangle.

Construction of the direct Nanjing - Hangzhou line will also shorten the journey times between Hangzhou and Beijing, as it will eliminate the present requirement for passengers to travel via Shanghai.

On April 26, the Ministry signed a contract for supply of signalling and train control systems, communications and overhead electrification on the 116 km Beijing - Tianjin high speed line. Worth up to €280m, the contract has been awarded to a consortium of Siemens Transportation Systems, Electrification Engineering Bureau and China National Railway Signal & Communication Corp.

Designed for 350 km/h, this line is due to open in 2008 (RG 3.06 p156), and will form part of the Beijing - Shanghai corridor. It is to be worked by some of the 60-strong fleet of 300 km/h trainsets that Siemens is supplying to Chinese Railways under a €670m contract awarded in November 2005.

  • Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on April 28 for the 103·7 km Baihe - Helong line parallelling the North Korean border. Connecting existing lines, it is one of three links needed to create a 1389 km rail corridor between Dalian, Tonghua and Mudanjiang that is intended to revitalise China’s northeastern provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heulongjiang at a total cost of 12·7bn yuan. n