Executive directors of the World Bank's board have
given the green light to a loan of US$200 million to assist expand
the capacity of the railway between China's Guizhou and Yunnan provinces.
The World Bank's office in China told Xinhua
on Tuesday that the project aimed to provide a major
increase in capacity to the Liupanshui-Zhanyi (Liu-Zhan) section of
the Guiyang-Kunming line. It was also designed to improve passenger
services and freight transport by halving transit times and
enabling operation of double-stack container trains.
The 254-kilometer Liu-Zhan line is at the western end
of the Shanghai-Kunming corridor and crosses the watershed between
the Yangtze and Pearl rivers. It was built as a single track in
1966 and electrified in 1988. It’s now operating close to capacity
but below forecasts as the economy in western China continues to
To expand its capacity to and from Yunnan the
government plans to realign the track to allow for higher speeds,
'double-track' the section between Liu and Zhan and remodel the Liu
The project will quadruple the capacity of the line,
cut travel times significantly and meet the growing demand for
transport between Guizhou and Yunnan.
John Scales, World Bank transport sector coordinator
in Beijing and manager for the Third National Railway Project, said
the additional capacity required to be developed
The World Bank supported the provision of additional
capacity, particularly in the West, together with meeting the
challenges of functioning in a market economy amid growing
competition from other transport options and the greater
environmental and energy efficiency benefits railways offered. The
total cost of the project is approximately 8.8 billion
In a further development the Asian Development Bank
(ADB) is making a grant of grant of US$500,000 to China for the
construction of a new railway linking Lanzhou in northwestern Gansu Province to Chongqing in the southwest.
The project will involve the construction of 817
kilometers of electrified line, much of it through mountainous
terrain, and 21 stations. Three quarters of the route's length will
comprise tunnels and bridges.
ADB say the project area will cover 13 counties and
cities with a total population of about 15 million with two thirds
of that being rural.
The majority of people in the area work in low-yield
agriculture. Despite the area's rich natural resources and tourism
potential poverty is high as the local population is cut off from
mainstream development due to the lack of transport
The railway will also connect Xinjiang to Yunnan,
Lanzhou to Alashankou and Chongqing to Hekou on the Vietnamese
"The railway will increase local people's access to
jobs, markets and services and give them an opportunity to improve
their living standards," says Manmohan Parkash, ADB Senior
Transport Specialist and project team leader.
The work is a joint venture between the Ministry of
Railways and the Chongqing, Gansu and Sichuan local governments.
Parkash said ADB's strategy for China's railway sector
was focused on expanding the network in underprivileged areas and
modernizing key routes so as to improve efficiency.
(Xinhua News Agency January 30, 2007)