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Railway Construction Booming in Western Region

A year ago, with the Qinghai-Tibet Railway put into operation, a railway construction boom occurred in the far-flung western region. For many years, inconvenient transportation had hampered the development of the western region. But now, things have changed. More and more railway construction projects have taken place in this sparsely-populated area.

As a province that has the largest territorial area, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is witnessing a railway construction fever never before known. During this year, five new railway lines have started to be built in Xinjiang. Local government hopes these projects can boost the development of local economy.

The railway construction boom is unprecedented in Xinjiang's history in terms of the number of lines being built, the total length of construction and the total areas these lines cover, said Wang Lequan, Party Secretary of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

In the following year, more railway lines will be built in Xinjiang and many of them will be built in the remote southern part of the region. In the year to come, three railway lines, namely the railway line between Kashgar and Hotan, between Korla and Aksu, and between Hami and Lop Nur, and electrified railway from Jiayuguan to Alashan, will shape up in Xinjiang, said Ismail Tiliwaldi, governor of Xinjiang regional government.

Xinjiang boasts rich energy resources, especially coal and oil. Some observers say that with the railway construction boom, the abundant energy resources in Xinjiang can be transported to other regions a lot easier than before and this will make Xinjiang a real energy resource transportation hub.

Currently, there is only one railway line that links Xinjiang to the Central Asia region. The railway reached Kazakhstan via Alashan port. In several years to come, two more railway lines might be built in Xinjiang to bring it closer to the Central Asia region.

( December 20, 2007)

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