China plans 30,000-km high speed rail network by 2020

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 file photo, China's CRH high-speed trains sit on tracks at a maintenance base in Wuhan, in central China's Hubei province. The Chinese government is planning to expand the country's high-speed rail network to 30,000 kilometers (18,600 miles) by 2020, part of public infrastructure spending aimed at shoring up economic growth. (AP Photo, File)

BEIJING — The Chinese government plans to expand the country's high-speed rail network to 30,000 kilometers (18,600 miles) by 2020, part of public infrastructure spending aimed at shoring up economic growth.

The network would connect more than 80 percent of China's major cities, Vice Transport Minister Yang Yudong said. Last year, China's high-speed railway totaled 19,000 kilometers (11,800 miles).

Overall, China plans to invest 3.5 trillion yuan ($504 billion) in railway construction between this year and 2020, Yang said. He was speaking at a briefing introducing plans to improve the country's transportation services.

The plans call for the renovation of expressways and faster construction of railways to serve less-developed regions in central and western China.

Economic growth has steadily slowed over the past six years as communist leaders seek to wean the economy off manufacturing and exports in favor of more self-sustaining growth based on consumer spending.

In the last two years, officials have responded with ramped up spending on construction of highways and other public works.

On Wednesday, China began operating a new high-speed rail line linking the financial hub of Shanghai in the east with Kunming, the capital of southwestern Yunnan province, a poorer region.

The line spans 2,252 kilometers (1,400 miles) across five provinces, cutting travel time to 11 hours from 35 hours, state media reported.

Must Read

Hong Kong pro-democracy candidates retain veto in key vote

Sep 5, 2016

A group of young Hong Kong pro-democracy activists has pulled off a stunning election victory,...

May says Britain still inspires confidence post-Brexit

Sep 5, 2016

After meeting with other world leaders during the G-20 summit, British Prime Minister Theresa May...

Air China removes mag with offensive article about London

Sep 8, 2016

Air China says it has removed copies of its inflight magazine containing an article criticized as...

Taiwan loses diplomatic ally in move welcomed by Beijing

Dec 21, 2016

Taiwan has condemned the African island nation of Sao Tome and Principe's "abrupt" move to break...

Chinese carrier carries out fighter drills on open seas

Dec 24, 2016

China's military says its first aircraft carrier group has carried out a series of fighter launch,...