China has invested over 823.8 billion yuan in railway development sector last year which is well above the annual target of 800 billion yuan as the country continues to ramp-up investments to halt the slowdown of the economy.
In 2015, 9,531 kilometres in new lines were put into operation, including 330.6 kilometres for high-speed railways, China Railway, previously part of the now defunct Ministry of Railways, state-run Global Times reported.
So far, China operates 121,000 kilometres of railways, just behind the US.
China had invested 809 billion yuan (USD 132 billion) in railway construction and put 8,427 kilometres of new railways into operation in 2014.
But China’s high-speed railways in operation reached 19,000 kilometres, the highest in the the world, the China Railway said.
During the 12th five-year period (2011-15), fixed-asset railway investments reached 3.58 trillion yuan and 30,500 kilometers of new lines were put into use.
“Railway investments are expected to remain high in the next few years, given the huge demand generated by the government’s move to develop China’s west,” Wang Mengshu, a railway expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told the Global Times yesterday, adding that railway investments are crucial to China’s economic growth.
China also hopes to improve its transportation network with nearby countries under the Belt and Road Initiative, which will also generate demand for railway investments, Wang said.
China continues to pour money into the infrastructure development to peg the economic slow down which slipped below 7 per cent in the third quarter.
While the government ruled out a stimulus package continued investments in the infrastructure was expected keep up the momentum of job growth.
China Railway also said that it is eyeing some “breakthroughs” in promoting its high-speed railway technology overseas, and the planned Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway in Indonesia, using Chinese technology, which is expected to begin construction on January 21.