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Work on High-speed Railway to Tianjin Running on Schedule

Work on the high-speed Beijing-Tianjin inter-city passenger railway and the Beijing Southern Railway Station is proceeding smoothly and on schedule, sources said.

The Beijing-Tianjin inter-city railway, with a designed speed of 300 kmph, will begin operations on August 1, 2008, the Ministry of Railway said during a four-day exhibition on modern railways in Beijing.

The first batch of bullet trains to run will be delivered on time, said Dirk Hoke, Siemens Transportation Systems Group president and Siemens Ltd China vice president.

Siemens and its Chinese partner, Tangshan Locomotive Plant in Hebei Province, won a contract in 2005 to make 60 locomotives that can travel at 300 kmph.

"Five trains, two made in Germany and three in Tangshan, will be delivered before the tracks open. The first one made in Germany will be completed before the end of this year, and the first made-in-Tangshan will be ready at the beginning of next year," he said.

Siemens took part in the project by cooperating with two Chinese firms and providing signal, telecommunication and electricity supply systems for the high-speed trains", he said.

By next August, trains will be shuttling passengers between the two cities in just half an hour, 45 minutes less than at present. The 115-km railway will cost 12.3 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion).

The ministry said the Beijing Southern Railway Station, reportedly to be the biggest in Asia, with a floor area of 350,000 square meters, will be completed next May.

It will be a five-floor complex, with two floors above the ground and three below. Passengers can transfer between high-speed and ordinary trains, Beijing's two subway lines and road transport from the complex.

To be twice the size of Beijing Western Railway Station, it can accommodate 10,500 passengers waiting for trains at any given time. The daily maximum passenger flow is expected to reach 100,000.

(China Daily September 8, 2007)

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