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The 267 km Hangzhou – Taizhou high speed line in Zhejiang province is on course to open by the end of this year, following the start of trial running on November 26.
The line has been under construction since December 2017, and civil engineering works were finished in June. The line is thought to be the first high speed railway to be built through the region’s soft sedimentary diatomite rock, and it includes the longest rail tunnel in eastern China. A cable-stayed ‘grand bridge’ to carry the line over the Jiaojiang River in Taizhou was completed in April.
Services will start from Hangzhou Dong, and use existing tracks through Hangzhou Nan before diverging onto 226 km of new alignment, serving stations at Shaoxing Bei, Shanghyu Nan, Shengzhou Xinchang, Tiantaishan, Linhai, Taizhou, Wenling, Wenling Xi and Yuhuan.
The 350 km/h line is one of eight projects selected to demonstrate the potential for private investment in China’s expanding high speed rail network. Being built at an estimated cost of 44·9bn yuan, it is 51% funded by private capital. The leading investor is Fosun Group which specialises in property development, pharmaceuticals, and retailing as well as other investment activities.
The railway is to be operated by China Railway as part of the national network. CR will collect fare revenues and pay access charges for use of the line, providing a return for the investors. Other income is to be raised through non-rail activities including commercial advertising.
When the contract for the project was signed in 2017, Xu Xing, the then Deputy Director of Zhejiang’s Development & Reform Commission explained to local media that injecting private capital into high speed railway construction would ‘greatly ease’ the government’s financial pressures and provide a reference for future schemes.
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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