The construction of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail link, China’s longest express rail route, is in its final stage.
Some 1,000 workers from the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) Fourth Harbor Engineering, one of the leading builders of the railway construction project, worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week on a rotational basis to ensure the process met its deadline. The overall project is due for completion in 2011, in time to begin operations in 2012.
High-speed rail travel, largely the preserve of countries such as Japan and France until the 1990s, is now sweeping across China. China’s hi-speed network will be nearly as large as that of the rest of the world’s put together when the 1,300 km Beijing to Shanghai line is completed.
A RMB220.9 billion ($31.6 billion) investment makes the route between China’s two most populous regions, the single most expensive construction project in China.
The 1,318-km-long railway line will cut the journey time between China’s capital and its eastern financial hub in half, reducing it to just five hours. It will also have a one-way transport capacity of 80 million passengers and more than 100 million tons of cargo annually, according to the Ministry of Railways (MOR).
China Daily reports that a quarter of the country’s population live in these two economically prosperous regions, with the local GDP accounting for 40% of the national total. And, again, the warning must be given this is most seriously and adversely going to affect the local airlines.