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China's HSR network to double by 2012

07-29-2010 09:43 BJT

BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhuanet) -- China will spend 800 billion yuan ($120 billion) as part of an ambitious plan to double its high-speed rail network by 2012, the Ministry of Railways said on Wednesday.

The sum will be invested to lay more than 6,000 km of new high-speed tracks across the country, pushing the total length of high-speed railways to 13,000 km by 2012, Yu Bangli, chief economist with the Ministry of Railways, said at a press conference.

China is now home to more high-speed rail lines - 6,920 km long for trains running at 200 to 350 km per hour - than any other country in the world.

Yu dismissed concerns that the massive spending spree will push the ministry's debt-to-assets ratio to 70 percent in 2012 from its current 55 percent, as a report by China's Minsheng Bank this week has suggested.

"I can tell you that our balance sheet is very good," Yu said, without providing a debt figure.

He Huawu, the ministry's chief engineer, said that China will set a new record by running trains at 380 km per hour on the Beijing-Shanghai link, which scheduled for completion before 2012. The 380 km-per-hour train is self-developed based on imported tech platform.

He also said that under no circumstances did China "force" foreign companies to transfer their high-speed technologies to China.

Instead, China has made its contribution by innovating and improving on the technologies, he said.

With 946 patents on its high-speed railway, moreover, China now wants to export its own high-speed technology, and many countries - including the United States, Russia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia - have expressed interest.

According to Zheng Jian, the ministry's chief planner, China's advantages lie in two areas. "We have mastered a full set of technologies, and have the advantage in construction time and cost," he said.

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