The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced on
Wednesday a loan of US$300 million to help fund construction of a
944-km railway line across north China.
The railway will be the first east-west line
connecting Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces, and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and will run
from Taiyuan in central Shanxi to Zhongwei and Yinchuan in Ningxia,
a relatively poor area, said the China office of ADB.
The Ministry of Railways said construction began in
A statement from the ADB said the US$3.75-billion
project will feature 520 km of electrified double track from
Taiyuan to Dingbian, 232 km of electrified single track from
Dingbian to Zhongwei, and 192 km of electrified single track from
Dingbian to Yinchuan.
It will include 41 new railway stations, modern safety
technology, and electronic and computerized management
Manmohan Parkash, an ADB senior transport specialist,
estimated that 6.5 million people living in 22 districts would
benefit from the railway.
Half of these areas were considered poor, mainly due
to geographical isolation, limited and expensive transport access,
and poor access to market information, as well as health, education
and other social services.
The ADB has focused on the development of railways in
poor, less-developed inland provinces in China to promote
sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty.
Since China joined in 1986, the ADB has provided the
country 13 loans totaling US$2.6 billion to fund the construction
of 5,518 km of new railway lines.
(Xinhua News Agency November 30, 2006)