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Bombardier eyeing massive rail contract in China

CanWest News is following the transportation boom in China with an extensive update on the newest HSR project.

The 1,318-kilometre train service between Beijing and Shanghai has been under discussion for more than a decade, but only this week did the government confirm it has approved the project.

No date was given for work to begin, but several months ago Railway Minister Liu Zhijun said he hoped it could start before the end of this year.

It now takes up to 12 hours to travel by train between China’s financial hub and the capital. At speeds of up to 350 km/h, the new train will cut travel time to less than five hours.

Industry experts estimate the trip will cost about between $80 and $93, roughly half the price of airfare.

French, German and Japanese companies are eyeing the link as closely as Bombardier, and all are apparently waiting to see exactly how big a project has been approved.

“This will be a big project,” Zhang said, “but China has not announced yet how many trains would be ordered. It depends on their operation plan which has not been issued. It should be several hundred trains.”

The Shanghai-Beijing link will likely be the largest rail project undertaken here in the next few years, but certainly not the only one. China is in the midst of a railway-building boom. Recognizing that the lack of rail infrastructure could soon become a drag on the red-hot manufacturing sector, China is expected to lay 17,000 km of new track by 2010.

Filed under: International High Speed Rail

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