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Guizhou to Add 3,300-km Railway by 2015

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Southwest China's Guizhou Province will extend railway lines by an additional 3,300 km by 2015 as part of China's 12th Five-Year Plan to balance regional development between the east and west.

"By the end of this year, Guizhou Province will have a total of 2,050 km of railway lines, and we plan to add 3,300 km more rail lines by 2015," said Governor Zhao Kezhi at a provincial railway network construction conference held Tuesday. "The investment for railway construction in Guizhou in the forthcoming ten years will top 400 billion yuan (about US$69.7 billion), of which some 300 billion yuan will be invested to build the railway lines in the 12th Five-Year-Plan Period (2011-2015)," said Governor Zhao.

Guizhou' s railway lines are expected to reach 5, 700 kilometers by 2020, almost triple the number now, Zhao added.

China is speeding up construction of its railway network in the west to keep up with railway development in the east and central regions, said Liu Zhijun, Minister of China's Ministry of Railways.

With a population of 40 million, Guizhou looks set to become the transport hub of west China due to its geographical position.

Guizhou adjoins Hunan province to the east, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region to the south, Yunnan province to the west, and Sichuan province and Chongqing municipality to the north.

It is also an important transportation hub linking Southeast Asian countries, China's Yangtze River and the Pearl River deltas.

"Guizhou has a great geographical position. But if there's not a sufficient transportation network to support the region's development, no matter how great its position is, all will be in vain," said Liu Yuan Kun, director of the Guizhou Provincial Development and Reform Commission, the province's economic planner.

Further, transport conditions have long been a bottleneck restriction for development and efforts to alleviate poverty for Guizhou, home to about 5.85 million of the nation's poorest people, whose per capita annual income falls below the nation's poverty line of 1,067 yuan (about US$160).

Speeding up the construction of the region's railway network, including high-speed rail, will eventually be the key to breaking the bottleneck restrictions of development, Liu said.

The railway networks, once completed, will also greatly boost Guizhou's rail traffic with the more economically developed areas in the Yangtze River and Pearl River deltas, Liu added.

(Xinhua News Agency November 10, 2010)

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