Beijing's newest railway station will most probably open on August 1 -- in time for the 2008 Olympic Games, a Beijing Railway Bureau official said on Wednesday.
The official, who declined to be identified, told Xinhua the exact date of operation would be announced by the Ministry of Railways.
Construction on the Beijing South Railway Station, in Chongwen District, began at the end of 2005 with an estimated investment of 6.3 billion yuan (US$910 million).
The new station will serve as the terminal for the inter-city express rail between Beijing and Tianjin, a port city about 120 kilometers southeast of Beijing, and a high-speed link between Beijing and the eastern financial hub of Shanghai.
The 115-km Beijing-Tianjin railway, which was scheduled to be in use ahead of the Olympics, can allow trains to run at a speed of 350 km per hour. The train travel time between the two cities will be cut to only 30 minutes from more than an hour currently.
Work on the 1,318-km Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway line started in April and was expected to be completed in five years. With a designed speed of 350 km per hour, the line will cut the journey time by half to five hours.
The new south station is 500 meters from the old south station which was built in 1897 and underwent a major renovation in 1958. The old was closed in May 2006 and then demolished.
The new station's main building has five floors, including three underground. It can hold more than 10,000 people.
The roof of the central building has been installed with more than 3,000 solar boards which have a total capacity of 245 kilowatts.
Beijing has three major railway stations already in use. The new south station is also connected to Beijing's bus and subway systems.
(Xinhua News Agency June 11, 2008)