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Lanzhou official calls for wide-gauge railway

17 April 2013
The Communist Party chief of Lanzhou, capital of Gansu province, has called for the building of a wide-gauge railway from the city to facilitate cargo transport between China and Europe.

Nearly all of China’s railways use the standard rail gauge adopted by 60 per cent of railways in the world, reported China Daily. However, Russia and most of its neighbouring countries use a broader track and this difference has caused problems for rail transport between Lianyungang in east China and Europe via central Asia. Chinese trains have to stop at the border and freight is transferred to foreign trains for the rest of the trip west.

Yu Haiyan, Lanzhou’s Party chief, said that laying a broad-gauge railway would greatly help the economy in China’s fast developing western region.

“With a broad-gauge railway, freight can be transported from Lanzhou to Amsterdam in just a week, compared with 40 days by sea from Guangzhou to Europe,” he said.

Investment in China’s railway infrastructure increased 28 per cent to Rmb54.51bn in the first three months of 2013, China Railway Corporation (CRC) said. The corporation took over the commercial functions of the recently dismantled Ministry of Railways on 14 March.

According to a national plan, China will invest Rmb520bn in railway infrastructure this year and 5,200km of new lines will be put into use.

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