China to build high-speed rail network by 2015
Beijing : China, which has one of the world`s busiest railway systems in the world, is aiming to build a high-speed passenger rail network by 2015, the ministry of railways said.
The country also plans to have separate passenger and freight networks, the China Daily reported on Wednesday.
According to a five-year plan recently approved by the cabinet, the railway network will feature four east-west lines and four north-south lines by the end of 2015.
The high-speed railway will cover around 18,000 km by then, the ministry said.
China`s high-speed lines, which have an average speed of 200 km per hour, stood at 6,894 km in August. The country had 93,000 km of railway lines by the end of 2011.
Another 40,000-km-long network will have lines with an operational speed of 160 km per hour.
When the new high-speed lines open, transport will be moved from conventional lines, which will then gradually turn into freight lines.
China halted work on new lines and conducted nationwide safety checks after 40 people were killed in an accident in Wenzhou. A total of 54 people, including minister-level officials, were punished following the accident.
Railway bureaus and stations have been ordered to improve train scheduling and management as well as conduct more intensive work safety training.
A recent railway ministry report said signalling and lighting equipment have been checked and reinforced at more than 1,000 stations across the country.
Since the creation of China`s rail system, passenger trains have shared the same tracks as freight trains, which has made it difficult to meet market demand on busy lines.
World Bank figures show that China has by traffic volume the world`s second busiest freight railway and the busiest passenger railway.
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