Shanghai-Nanjing high-speed rail link approved

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SHANGHAI, Feb. 26 – The National Development and Reform Commission approved a plan to build a high-speed rail passenger rail link between Shanghai and Nanjing.

The US$5.52 billion line will take four years to complete and shorten travel time on the 300 kilometer route from two hours to 72 minutes Xinhua reported. Once completed, trains will run 24 hours a day at intervals of three minutes during peak hours.

The annual passenger flow of the line is expected to hit 26.35 million by 2020 and 38.44 million by 2030, officials said.

The new rail will transport only passengers, opening up further the existing lines for freight traffic, dearly needed as China moves to develop its inland regions.

The new line will pass 25 cities including Changzhou, Wuxi and Suzhou, integrating the region in a fast-rail network and connecting any two cities in the Yangtze Delta area within two hours, NDRC officials said.

The Yangtze River Delta region is economically one of the country’s most important, contributing about 22 percent of the total gross domestic product.

High-speed rail between Shanghai and Hangzhou, Hangzhou and Ningbo, Changzhou and Suzhou are also in the pipeline, officials said.