China has started construction on 1,059 km, or 80 percent, of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway in the five months since the project kicked off.
Construction on the rest of the project was awaiting preliminary work, such as land confiscation.
Nearly 100,000 workers and engineers are involved in the US$31.6 billion project, and they will use 21,000 pieces of machinery, according to the leading group of the project.
The key part of the project, a bridge spanning the Yangtze River in Nanjing, has seen 10 of its piers installed, with one left.
The 1,318-km railway line, with a designed speed of 350 km per hour, is expected to welcome passengers in five years.
Upon completion, the line would cut the travel time between the capital of Beijing and the financial hub of Shanghai in half, to five hours.
It would also lift the one-way transport capacity to 80 million passengers and more than 100 million tons of cargo annually, so as to ease the burden on the existing line.
The line would traverse Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu before reaching Shanghai.
(Xinhua News Agency September 19, 2008)