CHINA: The National Development & Reform Commission has formally approved the construction of a 300 km high speed line between Shanghai and Nanjing at a cost of 39·5bn yuan. The project is to be funded by the two cities, the province of Jiangsu and the Ministry of Railways. Construction is expected to start in the first half of this year, and take four years to complete.

With the Yangtze delta region generating 22% of China's GPD, the route is one of CR's busiest inter-city corridors. Traffic has grown steadily since the launch of CRH services last year, and is forecast to exceed 38 million journeys per year by 2030.

The 300 km/h dedicated passenger line will cut the fastest journey time between the two cities from 2 h to 72 min. There will be 27 intermediate stations, including stops to serve the rapidly-growing cities of Kunshan, Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou, Danyang and Zhenjiang. Services are expected to operate 24 h a day, with a minimum headway of 3 min at peak times.

Plans are taking shape for a high speed line linking Shanghai with Hangzhou and Ningbo, which would parallel the proposed maglev extension from Pudong to Hangzhou. A direct line from Nanjing to Hangzhou is also envisaged.