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January 17, 2010

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Fast rail route to expand out west

A HIGH-SPEED railway linking Xi'an with Chengdu has won approval from the National Development and Reform Commission, the top economic planning agency.

The railway has a design speed of over 250 kilometers per hour, the China Railway First Survey and Design Institute said on Friday.

It will help to cut the travel time between the two major cities in western China to less than three hours from the current 13 hours, the designer said.

It includes a 519-kilometer section between Xi'an, home of the terracotta warriors in Shaanxi Province, and Jiangyou in Sichuan Province, and another 130-kilometer section linking Jiangyou with Chengdu, the Sichuan provincial capital.

Construction on the Xi'an-Jiangyou line will start this year, the institute said, without giving a timetable. The Jiangyou-Chengdu line has been under construction for over a year.

The Xi'an-Chengdu railway, to cost about 68.8 billion yuan (US$10 billion), is the first rail route to run through the Qinling Mountains and is scheduled to be completed in 2014, the designer said.

It will include 135 kilometers of track traversing the mountains, including 127 kilometers of tunnels.


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