China to keep large-scale railway construction in next five years: NPC deputy

By Lu Ya’nan, People’s Daily

The operation mileage of China’s railway network is expected to hit 170,000 kilometers by 2025, including 50,000 kilometers of high-speed and inter-city rails, said Lu Dongfu, deputy to the National People’s Congress (NPC) during an interview with People’s Daily.

Lu, who’s also the board chairman of China State Railway Group Co., Ltd., noted that by that time, China’s railway network will have covered all cities with 200,000 urban residents and above, and high-speed rails will connect 98 percent of the cities with a population of over 500,000.

During China’s 13th Five-Year Plan period, or the last five years, the total operation mileage of China’s railway network expanded 20.9 percent from 121,000 kilometers to 146,300 kilometers. The length of high-speed rails nearly doubled from 19,800 kilometers to 37,900 kilometers.

Completing the construction of a “four vertical and four horizontal” railway network ahead of schedule, the country is accelerating to form an “eight vertical and eight horizontal” railway network. Now, China is home to the world’s most modern railway network and most advanced high-speed railway network.

During the past five years, China’s railway network handled 14.9 billion passenger trips, 9 billion of which were completed by bullet trains. The two figures surged 41 percent and 152 percent from those during the 12th Five-Year Plan period, respectively.

Independent innovation of the railway sector achieved major accomplishments in the past five years, making China one of the global leaders in terms of railway technologies.

The country has grasped the most advanced technologies in designing high-speed and heavy-load trains, as well as tracks in plateau and cold regions. All of its intelligent high-speed rail technologies are developed independently. Its Fuxing bullet trains are able to run at speed ranging from 160 to 350 kilometers per hour.

According to Lu, China’s Tibet Autonomous Region started operating Fuxing trains powered by both internal-combustion and electricity before July 1 last year, marking the opening of high-speed train services in all Chinese mainland provincial-level regions.

Besides, a batch of intelligent Fuxing trains were launched for the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway, Beijing-Harbin high-speed railway, Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railway and Chengdu-Chongqing high-speed railway, to bring quality trip experiences to more passengers, Lu said.

China also kicked off a project called CR450 to develop new-generation Fuxing bullet trains that are faster, safer, more environmentally friendly, more energy-saving, and more intelligent, Lu said, adding that the project will consolidate the country’s edge in high-speed railway.