ON MARCH 14 China’s Ministry of Railways signed an agreement in Beijing with the provincial governments of Zhejiang and Fujian, paving the way for the start of construction on a 352 km coastal rail link between Wenzhou and Fuzhou.

The line will boost economic development in the region, particularly around the deep-water port at Wenzhou. Traffic has been growing rapidly in the last five years, especially following the inauguration of the Jinhua - Wenzhou line in June 1998. But the only access to the south is by road, with the trip to Fuzhou taking over 10h. n