Jilin province improves rail infrastructure

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Construction work on the first intercity express rail link in Northeast China’s Jilin province kicked off Sunday, May 13. The 8.6 billion yuan (US$ 112 million) project will link the provincial capital of Changchun with Jilin City, the province’s second largest cities. Work is scheduled to be finished at the end of 2010.

China Daily reports that the express line is part of a province-wide overhaul of the railway system aimed at meeting the increasing demand for rail services.

The province signed a 53 billion yuan (6.9 billion dollars) contract with the Ministry of Railways involving 18 construction projects, said Qiu Zhuang, chairman of the Jilin transportation investment exploration corporation.

“With the goal of making business, tourism and communication ties between the two cities more convenient, the express rail line link should become the main means of transportation once it’s operating,” said Qiu.

The link is expected to cut the travel time between the two cities to 30 minutes, or about a third of the current running time, he said.

Changchun is the cradle of China’s car industry, with the vast FAW plant sitting amidst a sprawling specialist auto zone, while Jilin City is, along with Changchun, a major consumer center of the province. Demands for improved rail links is high in the province rich in natural and mineral resources, as well as timber production, ginseng, sable and deer antlers. The new rail links will no doubt improve the local consumer goods market and speed up business travel and integration within the region.