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China to Build High-speed Railway Linking Western Cities

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China will start building a new high-speed railway linking Xi'an and Chengdu, two major western China cities, at the end of the year.

Trains on the 510-km-long line will run at a speed of 250 km per hour, slashing travel time between the two cities to about two hours from the current 13 hours, said Wang Jie, chief engineer at Xi'an-based China Railway First Survey and Design Institute, the project's prime designer.

The 70.8 billion yuan (about US$10.6 billion) railway will take four years to build.

The line will pass through Hanzhong City, Shaanxi Province, and the cities of Guangyuan and Jiangyou in Sichuan Province, Wang said.

The line will be the first to run through western China's Qinling Mountains.

Some 135 km of the line will cut through the craggy region, requiring the boring of 127 km of tunnels.

China plans to have more than 50,000 km of railways in its vast western regions by 2020, when the country's total railway mileage will top 120,000 km.

(Xinhua News Agency November 2, 2010)

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