CRI News Report:High Speed Rail Network Develops on Fas... 简介：Download MP3 Audio 把音频贴到我的博客(Qzone)或BBS 关闭MP3地址:音频页面地址:High Speed Rail Network Develops on Fast Track in China China, a nation lo…
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High Speed Rail Network Develops on Fast Track in China
China, a nation long defined by the vastness of its geography, is getting much smaller. With the construction of the high speed railway network, passengers will be able to travel between most of the country's provincial capitals in eight hours or less by 2012.
Wu Jia has more.
China currently has about 6,600 kilometers of operational high-speed rail, the longest in the world.
At the end of last year, China unveiled the world's fastest long-distance passenger train service linking Guangzhou and Wuhan, a distance covering almost halfway across the country, slashing the travel time from ten to three hours. The rail between central China's Xi'an and Zhengzhou also began operation earlier this year, cutting travel time by 4 hours.
Vice Railways Minister Wang Zhiguo says the operation of the network has proved to be working smoothly.
"The quality of all the equipment is reliable. The safety of transportation has also been ensured, with good safety records. What's more, the network is welcomed by passengers, with high market demands."
Wang Zhiguo says that over the next three years, China will expand its railway network by 20,000 kilometers, including 13,000 kilometers of track designed for high-speed trains capable of traveling up to 350 kilometers per hour.
The official notes the government will put an emphasis on construction in western China to help the vast underdeveloped region become less remote.
"The main routes of the network will directly link western China to the coastal areas. We are also considering building regional and inter-regional railways to complement the main routes, such as railways linking Guiyang and Guangzhou, as well as Nanning and Guangzhou."
The fast development of the high speed railway network has raised some concerns over potential debt crisis for funding the massive projects.
Yu Bangli, chief economist at the Ministry of Railways, rules out any possibility of debt crisis.
"All the projects have gone through comprehensive analysis on the density of population along the routes, local economic and urban development so as to ensure it is economically viable for the construction of high speed railways."
Yu Bangli notes that generally speaking, the current debt level of Chinese railways is moderate and manageable. In 2009, its asset liability ratio was 52%, far lower than those of its international counterparts.
He adds that the huge population, fast pace of urbanization and stable economic growth will all contribute to the sustained development of the high speed railway network in China.