BEIJING, March. 12 (Xinhua) -- Construction of the much-anticipated, high-speed railway linking Beijing and Shanghai, which will cut travel time by almost half, is likely to begin in the later half of this year.
The project is expected to be launched three months after the National Development and Reform Commission approves a feasibility report on the project, said Lang Guoping, vice director of the preparatory office for the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway corporation.
The project was approved by the Chinese government last March.
Trains on the rail line will travel at speeds of 300 kilometers an hour and take only five hours to reach Beijing or Shanghai.
The railway is expected to be completed by 2010.
All the engineering systems, bridges and tunnels will be developed in China using advanced foreign technologies. Several foreign manufacturers including the Siemens and Alstom have formed joint ventures with Chinese firms, Lang said, adding that China will produce more than 80 percent of the carriages while the remainder will be imported from abroad.
Lang debunked rumors that the 140 billion-yuan project was short of funds. He says banks have pledged more than 100 billion yuan in loans, well above the 80 billion the project had sought from banks.
The multi-billion project involves investment from the Ministry of Railways, strategic foreign investors and the seven provinces the railway will pass through.
He said the 1,320-kilometer line will make 21 passenger stops and trains will depart every three minutes during peak hours.
"We will operate the trains like public transit," he said.
A 100 to 200-kilometer-long acoustic barrier will be built to reduce noise pollution, said Lang.
China has invested billions of dollars expanding its railway network in an effort to ease congestion and promote economic growth.
The country plans to build more than 12,000 kilometers of high-speed railways in the coming years at a cost of between 2 and2.5 trillion yuan.