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China's Railway Investment Hits US$19.6 Bln in 1st 7 Months

China's railway investment soared 37.5 percent from January to July. The numbers are attributed to a building boom of high-speed lines and the country's desire to link together poor regions.

The investment reached 133.78 billion yuan (US$19.6 billion), the Ministry of Railways (MOR) said on Monday.

More people than ever are using railways. In the first 7 months of the year trains carried 855.3 million passengers, up 12.6 percent from the same period last year. Cargo volume was 1.94 billion tons, up 6.8 percent from a 2007.

The MOR had planned to invest 1.25 trillion yuan (US$182.6 billion) in railway building and renovation through 2010 extending the train network by 17,000 kilometers.

China started construction on the 1,318-km-long Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway on April 18. The train is designed to run 350km per hour. The total project cost 220.9 billion yuan (US$32.3 billion).

(Xinhua News Agency September 8, 2008)

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