China plans to extend the length of its high-speed railway network to 50,000 kilometers (31,070 miles) by 2025, according to a new five-year transport plan issued this week by the State Council. The network will be 12,000km longer than at the end of 2020.
The expansion is so vast, it exceeds the combined length of high-speed rail networks in Spain, Japan, France, Germany, and Finland. The total length of those nations’ networks was 11,954km last year, according to data from the International Union of Railways.
Analysts say Beijing is speeding up its investment in infrastructure to curb China’s economic slowdown. Its high-speed railway extended to 38,000km at the end of last year, which was 8,000km longer than the target set by Beijing in 2017.
However, the State Council’s document said the transport system was still “unbalanced” and insufficiently developed. “There are obvious shortcomings in intercity and urban railways in key city clusters and metropolitan areas,” it said.
Last Friday, a project worth 238 billion yuan ($37.5 billion) was approved to construct two new high-speed rail lines with a combined length of 826.8km.
The rail expansion initiative is part of Beijing’s push to increase its national railway network from 146,000km in 2020 to 165,000km by 2025.
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