CHINESE Railways announced at the end of January that work is to start this year on a second double-track railway from Lanzhou to Xining at a cost of 4bn yuan.

The electrified line is being designed for 200 km/h passenger trains, bringing the 169·9 km trip between the capitals of Gansu and Qinghai provinces down to under 1h. Passenger services on the route will be increased from 15 to 60 per day.

Qinghai’s economy has been growing at more than 12% a year for the past four years. CR predicts further growth will follow the completion of the Qinghai-Tibet railway in 2007. Completion of the second Lanzhou - Xining line by the end of the same year will give CR an annual capacity of 40 million tonnes on the route, compared with the 7·6 million tonnes handled last year.