Before Olympic tourists benefit from the massive
construction of the Beijing and Tianjin high-speed railway, local
residents will be able to enjoy the ride.
The Beijing-Tianjin inter-city passenger rail line
will be completed and open to traffic before August 2008, when the
Beijing Olympic Games open.
The train will shuttle passengers between the cities
in just half an hour, 45 minutes shorter than the current travel
time. The train is designed to go 200 kilometers per hour (kmp),
but can reach speeds of 350 kmp.
The 115-kilometre railway is expected to cost 12.3
billion yuan (US$1.5 billion), said Ma Zhenhong, a press official
with the Tianjin Municipal Communications Commission in a phone
Earlier reports in the Beijing Times said the Ministry
of Railways and the municipal government of Tianjin have each
poured 2.6 billion yuan (US$325 million) into the project, while
Beijing gave its share by providing requisitioned land and paying
for resettlement of residents. A company has been established to
manage the construction project.
The construction of the passenger rail line started in
July this year. The construction work will finish before the end of
next year, and the railway will be put into service before August
"The rail line is an important project to serve the
2008 Beijing Olympic Games," Ma said.
The Beijing-Tianjin inter-city passenger line is also
believed to be the pilot project of a massive high-speed rail
network in China. This will be the country's first high-standard
With a speed of 300 kilometers per hour, locomotives
manufactured by Tangshan Locomotive Plant in Hebei Province, which
uses Germany-based Siemens technology, will be first put into use
on the Beijing-Tianjin inter-city passenger line.
Siemens and Tangshan Locomotive Plant were reported to
win a bid together in 2005 to manufacture 60 locomotives with a
designed speed of 300 kmp for the railway ministry. Of these, three
locomotives will be entirely imported from Siemens, and 57 will be
Siemens was also reported to have won a contract
together with two other Chinese companies to provide signal,
telecommunication and electricity supply systems for the high-speed
In order to promote economic integration of the
Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, China plans to build a two-hour
circle to cover major cities in the Bohai Rim Region. A total of
710 kilometers of inter-city rail lines will be built in the
region's inter-city rail network before 2020.
The Beijing-Tianjin inter-city passenger rail will
serve as an axis in the regional rail network, to meet the soaring
demand of travel between the cities.
At present, the municipalities, each with a population
over 10 million, are linked by highways, expressways and rail. The
current railway is under pressure, handling 25.55 million
passengers each year.
The new passenger rail line is expected to handle 32
million passengers in 2008 and 54 million passengers in
At present, there are also three expressways under
construction that will link the two cities.
(China Daily November 27,