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Old October 17th, 2011, 06:10 PM   #4481
hkskyline
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Rail dream still on track to unite continents
Updated: 2011-10-12 07:56
China Daily

Major problems remain but ambitious network hopes to link Asia to Europe, Alfred Romann reports from Hong Kong.

Creative locals use "bamboo trains" to travel along Cambodia's abandoned railway lines. These homemade vehicles ferry food and people and are powered by adapted water pumps. Technology at its most basic but Cambodia's railways could yet be part of an ambitious network linking Asia to Europe.

In 2009, the Asian Development Bank provided $84 million to rebuild Cambodia's 600-km railway network. The whole project should cost $141 million and is due for completion by 2013.

Cambodia's railways are among several missing links in the Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) project, an 117,000-km rail network, 10,500 km of which has yet to be built. Rehabilitating Cambodia's rail network is integral to the project that would link Singapore to Kunming, and beyond to Central Asia and, eventually, to Turkey and mainland Europe.

Envisioned in the 1960s, TAR would ultimately link the fragmented national railways in 28 countries into a unified transportation system.

"The completion of the missing links in the network and its efficient operations are key to the region's economic integration," according to Pierre Chartier. He is economic affairs officer in the transport division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, which is driving the project.

The scope of this undertaking is massive. Some countries in the network have no railways to speak of; others have dilapidated ones.

Rail dream still on track to unite continents

Making connections

Chinese investment in domestic and foreign projects is driving forward the development of TAR, but more than money is required. Missing links between countries have to be filled and infrastructure built to overcome significant technical differences before a single, unified rail system can run smoothly across the continent. For instance, the width of tracks and, in turn, the axles of trains often vary from country to country.

"Financing and building railway infrastructure is easy. The challenge is integrating the Greater Mekong Subregion railways, which developed in splendid isolation from each other since World War II, to the point where they can operate effectively," said Peter Broch, senior transport economist at the Asian Development Bank.

"Effective cross-border rail traffic would provide medium- to long-distance land transport, thereby improving economic efficiency," Broch said. Transport and transaction costs would be reduced, and national economies could be better linked.

A 128-km link from the small city of Loc Ninh, along the Cambodian border, to Ho Chi Minh City will provide one of the missing links. It is part of a national plan Vietnam developed in 2002 to rehabilitate and turn Vietnam Railways into a corporation. Once that bit of the system is laid out and operational, it will be up to Cambodia to link it up with the wider transnational network.

Sizable economic zone

There are myriad options to overcoming technical hurdles such as varying rail gauges, the distance between rails, but all of these have problems of their own and would interrupt the smooth flow of traffic. The upshot is that despite tens of thousands of kilometers of track already laid, the original goal of a seamless network remains elusive.

There is, however, much merit in the idea of a continental rail network. For one, there are a dozen landlocked countries in Central Asia.

Southeast Asia, the area from southwest China to Singapore, could particularly benefit. An integrated railway would be another step toward "creating a large, reasonably homogenous market" similar in size to the European Union, Broch said.

The UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, forerunner of Chartier's agency, floated the idea of TAR in the 1960s to provide a 14,080-km rail link between Singapore and Istanbul. Over the following decades, countries moved forward railway projects and sometimes linked them, but coordination was limited.

Nevertheless, by 2001 TAR evolved to the point that four clear corridors had been developed and studied:

The Northern Corridor links Europe and the Pacific Ocean through Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea.

The Southern Corridor goes from Turkey to Thailand through Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand, and includes links to China, Malaysia and Singapore.

The North-South Corridor would link Northern Europe to the Persian Gulf.

The Southeast Asian Corridor would link Kunming to Singapore.

In November 2006, 18 countries signed the Trans-Asian Railway Network Agreement, which covered some 81,000 km of railways. By the time the agreement took effect, in June 2009, a further 11 countries signed up and the network swelled to 117,000 km. Since then, 16 countries have officially ratified or accepted the deal.

"The development of the Trans-Asian Railway is not time-bound. It is evolutionary by nature and in this respect follows policy options of governments as well as the worldwide economic environment," the UN commission's Chartier said.

Mekong focus

Despite official commitment and national railway development, progress has been spotty. The Northern Corridor across China and Russia has operated for decades, linking China with Europe. In Southeast Asia, however, things have moved at a slower pace.

Last October, Chartier noted a lot of missing links. There are no actual rail connections between China and Laos or China and Myanmar. Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia are not linked; neither are Cambodia with Vietnam, or Vietnam with Laos.

Over the next few years, much of the building activity will be focused in this region, in particular the Mekong subregion.

Surprisingly, the financial crisis of 2008 sped up the network's development, unlike the 1997 crisis when many governments abandoned projects. Collaboration among China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand demonstrates what Chartier called "the mobilization of governments on projects with multilateral dimensions".

China is a big driver behind much of the building. Not only is the government making massive investments in its own railways, but it is also financing those in other countries. It is likely to provide up to 70 percent of the investment in the link that will go through Laos.

While TAR is an overarching agreement, regional and bilateral deals are pushing the actual construction. One such agreement among the six countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion should lead to further railway integration. China has also signed a deal for the Kunming-Singapore link.

Malaysia started building its own section of TAR in 1995. In March 2009, Thailand and Laos launched a rail link.

Closing gaps

Despite the progress, holes remain.

One is in Myanmar. At the end of May, Chinese workers and engineers started work on a line that would link Kunming to the Myanmar border, but then there is a 160-km gap on the Myanmar side. Also, the two lines operate on different gauges.

In Vietnam, China Railway Construction workers are expected to complete the link between Loc Ninh and Ho Chi Minh City by 2013.

In Cambodia, serious train travel restarted a year ago, when the first stretch of rail between Phnom Penh and Touk Meas opened. The 254-km line from Phnom Penh to the port of Sihanoukville opened this year. Other work continues.

After decades of bamboo trains, a functioning railway network is beginning to emerge, linking Cambodia to the rest of Asia and much of the world.

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Old October 19th, 2011, 08:39 PM   #4482
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Lack of cash brings rail projects to a standstill
Updated: 2011-10-19 07:21
China Daily

BEIJING - Many migrant workers on China's new rail projects have not been paid for months, due to a shortage of funds caused by the country's tightened policies on loans, and many are without a job as projects come to a halt.

The situation affects millions of migrant workers hired to lay new track, say experts, who also warn that the country's new roads are facing similar financial problems.

"An estimated 6 million migrant workers are employed by rail projects nationwide. If the projects cannot resume soon, these people and their families will all suffer," said Wang Mengshu, deputy chief engineer at China Railway Tunnel Group.

According to Wang, rail projects spanning a total of more than 10,000 kilometers, including 5,400 km of tunnels, have been suspended due to a shortage of funds and many migrant workers have not been paid for six months.

The rail construction companies also owe big sums of money to cement and steel suppliers, he added.

"The central government should make investments, pay the workers and suppliers, and complete the ongoing projects," Wang said.

Both the Ministry of Railways and China Railway Group declined to comment when contacted by China Daily on Tuesday.

Wang said one of the reasons for the halting of rail projects is that the central government has tightened its monetary stance to curb soaring inflation. China has raised the reserve requirement ratio for banks nine times this year and hiked interest rates five times to check excessive lending.

Also, doubts about high-speed railway technologies and management in the wake of a deadly bullet train crash in July have resulted in banks taking a more cautious attitude, Wang said.

"The general environment for the high-speed railway industry is not good," said a source with China Railway First Group, a railway construction company.

"With money from the stimulus plan worth 4 trillion yuan ($627 billion) drying up this year and its difficulty in securing bank loans, the rail sector is facing a capital chain rupture," said Zhao Jian, a professor of transport at Beijing Jiaotong University.

In a bid to help the crippled sector, authorities have agreed to take steps to secure financial support for major cash-strapped railway projects, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The Ministry of Finance instituted a policy earlier this month to halve the tax on the interest earnings of bonds issued by the Ministry of Railways between the 2011-2013 period, in a bid to make the bonds more attractive.

The shortage of funds is also affecting the construction of new roads, the Ministry of Transport said in a report on Monday.

"Some provinces have had no money to pay construction companies for two to three months, and a few projects are completely or partly suspended," the report said, adding that as a result, 20 percent of the work planned for this year may not be completed on time.

The ministry forecast that the funds shortage could get worse in the fourth quarter this year, adding that it will try to secure funds for some projects and suspend others.

The China Banking Regulatory Commission warned banks in late July of the risks associated with loans to the railway and road sectors.

According to plans, China aims to expand the national high-speed railway network from 91,000 km in 2010 to 120,000 km by 2015, and the expressway network from 74,100 km in 2010 to 108,000 km by 2015.
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Old October 29th, 2011, 12:57 PM   #4483
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China railway construction workers killed in road accident
(Reuters) - Twenty-three people were killed and five seriously injured when a vehicle carrying railway construction workers overturned in northwest China's Gansu Province on Saturday, the official Xinhua news agency said.

China has invested heavily on railway infrastructure to connect the vast country during years of strong economic growth.

But authorities recently suspended new rail projects after a collision between two high-speed trains in July killed 40 people and fanned public anger over transport safety issues.

Shanghai authorities also came under fire in September after the worst subway accident in 42 years raised fresh concerns that the world's second-largest economy was sacrificing safety in the rush to develop.

Xinhua said the vehicle overturned in a mountain tunnel that was still under construction as part of a railway track in Manwa township in Lintao County.

It was not immediately known how many people were in the vehicle, or whether all of those killed or injured were construction workers.

An initial investigation showed brake failure was the likely cause of the accident, a spokesman with the local railway authorities was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/1...79S0P920111029
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Old October 31st, 2011, 12:54 AM   #4484
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Shanghai authorities also came under fire in September after the worst subway accident in 42 years raised fresh concerns that the world's second-largest economy was sacrificing safety in the rush to develop.
I presume this is calculated from the first day Beijing Subway was in operation in 1969? A bit of a pointless statistic given Shanghai's network is only 16 years old.
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Old October 31st, 2011, 08:16 PM   #4485
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I presume this is calculated from the first day Beijing Subway was in operation in 1969? A bit of a pointless statistic given Shanghai's network is only 16 years old.
Reuters' standards have definitely gone down the drain, it's actually kinda pathetic that they have to come up with reports like this to bash China.
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 02:05 AM   #4486
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If China's "worst" subway accident is one in which nobody died, then that can't be that bad. Of course, there have been many construction cave-ins and a boy died in an escalator mishap in Beijing Subway earlier this year.
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 04:57 AM   #4487
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Ministers vow to build better road, rail links
Updated: 2011-10-27 08:07
China Daily

CHENGDU - Transport ministers from Asian and European countries agreed on Wednesday to draft a mid- and long-term plan on building a seamless transport and logistics network between the two continents.

It is part of an action plan adopted by the second Asia-Europe Transport Ministers' Meeting that ran from Monday to Wednesday in the capital of Sichuan province.

"Asia and Europe are closely connected, without the separation of oceans. It is an advantage that should be tapped to build an efficient and convenient land transport network that could reduce logistics costs and boost trade," said Chinese Transport Minister Li Shenglin.

Currently, almost all cargo between China and Europe is done by maritime transport, as no road connects China and Europe due to a missing link in Central Asia. Rail transport between them faces many non-physical barriers - including technical ones and issues connected to taxation and customs, which makes cargo transport by rail take longer than by ship.

This means there is huge "unused potential in land transport", especially rail connections, said Henrik Hololei, head of cabinet to European Commission vice-president responsible for transport Siim Kallas.

China has been promoting the construction of both road and rail connections to Europe, including roads and railways via Central Asia, and roads to Mongolia and Russia, officials said.

A proposed route through Central Asia starts in China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, and passes through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey, before heading into Europe, said Ju Chengzhi, director of the International Affairs Department at the Ministry of Transport.

China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have agreed to build roads and railways to make up part of the missing link between Asia and Europe, earlier reports said.

Zhang Xiaojie, a ministry official in charge of regional road issues, said that China is also promoting a route from northwestern China to Russia via Mongolia, and calling for three road links between northeastern China and Russia.

According to Zhang, China is proposing a road be built from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region through Mongolia to Russia, and a section within Mongolia is already under construction.

China and Russia also agreed to build three border bridges across the Heilong River connecting each other's road networks to boost trade and personal exchanges.

One of the earliest proposed bridges is a 1,080-meter bridge 7 km from the city of Heihe in Heilongjiang province. Earlier reports said China would invest 360 million yuan ($55 million) in the project.

Media reports said that construction of the bridge would start soon.

"China's National Development and Reform Commission has approved the projects and funds are already allocated We are urging the Russian side (to make it work) at every bilateral meeting," he said.

Insiders said that despite planning and proposals, the different laws, regulations and technical standards of countries along the routes pose non-physical barriers for the plans to become reality.

The second Asia-Europe Transport Minister's Meeting was attended by 36 members of the Asia-Europe Meeting, which was officially established in 1996.

The meeting is an inter-regional forum with 48 members. Its member countries account for 60 percent of world trade and more than half of global GDP.
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 04:59 PM   #4488
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If China's "worst" subway accident is one in which nobody died, then that can't be that bad.
I agree!

In Washington there has been two worse accidents in 2009, 2004, 1996, and media didn't brain-wash goats saying American metro technology is bad.
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Old November 8th, 2011, 07:39 AM   #4489
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China's railways carry 1.6 bln passengers in first ten months

BEIJING, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- China's railways delivered some 1.6 billion passengers during the first ten months of the year, up 11.2 percent from a year earlier, the Ministry of Railways said on Sunday.

The number accounted for about 84 percent of the 1.9 billion passenger target the ministry has set for the year.

Meanwhile, the railways transported 3.271 billion metric tons of goods during the January-October period, up 8.1 percent year-on-year, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website.

The ministry has attached great importance to the delivery of major goods this year, including thermal coal, agricultural produce and food, to meet the demand of industrial production and the people's basic needs, the statement said.

In total, the ministry transported 1.879 billion metric tons of coal, 112.06 million metric tons of oil, 79.15 million metric tons of grain and 70.69 million metric tons of fertilizers and pesticides in the first ten months, according to the statement.

The statement said the ministry will continue to coordinate efforts to respond to market demand and improve the system's efficiency.
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Old November 8th, 2011, 10:17 AM   #4490
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I agree!

In Washington there has been two worse accidents in 2009, 2004, 1996, and media didn't brain-wash goats saying American metro technology is bad.
Sorry for O/T but why was Luli banned? (Mods feel free to delete this if it gets in the way)
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Old November 8th, 2011, 07:42 PM   #4491
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Sorry for O/T but why was Luli banned? (Mods feel free to delete this if it gets in the way)
I have the same question too as he's contributed alot to this forum.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 06:12 PM   #4492
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Chengdu gets rail freight service to Germany
Updated: 2011-11-12 01:02
China Daily

On November 3, Ge Honglin, mayor and deputy secretary of the Municipal Party Committee of Chengdu, met with Jiang Peihua, the Chinese representative of German Railway Global Freight Company in Ningbo, and agreed to ensure that the scheduled railway freight transportation service from Chengdu to Germany will open before March next year.

The two sides met during the 7th China International Logistics Festival.

Compared with existing ocean shipping, the railway service will shorten station-to-station container delivery from Chengdu to Europe to 16 days. It will take about 20 days for door-to-door delivery service. The transportation costs will also be reduced.

To date, early stage preparations are ready for operation. According to the cooperation plan, there will be one scheduled railway freight transportation service each week in the early stage. There will be more scheduled services along with expanded export volumes from Chengdu city.

Ge said that in recent years, Chengdu has accelerated its pace of opening to the outside world and going global. It has integrated into the world economy at a fast rate.

Along with the settlement of a large number of world famous electronic information manufacturing enterprises in the city, such as Texas Instruments, Dell, Lenovo, Foxconn, Compal and Wistron, the city has raised higher demands on logistics service for exporting IT products to Europe.

Chengdu will provide efficient and convenient government administration services and apply advanced market operation concepts and modes to facilitate the timely operation of the scheduled Chengdu-Germany international railway transportation service, Ge said.

Jiang expressed gratitude to the Chengdu municipal government, on behalf of German Railway Global Freight Company, for support of the scheduled freight service.

Jiang said Chengdu has great development potential and the German company has great confidence in the prospects of the freight service.

German Railway Global Freight Company, a state-owned company in Germany, has a 150 year history. It is the most competitive in railway and highway transportation in Europe. It is the second largest in air transportation, third largest in ocean shipping, and fifth largest in contract logistics and supply chain management in the world.

Chengdu explores ways to boost convention and exhibition business 2011-11-3

In recent years, Chengdu has risen rapidly in the convention and exhibition business among China's second tier cities. It won the honorary title of "famous Chinese city hosting conventions and exhibitions."

After the Wenchuan Earthquake in 2008, the Chengdu convention and exhibition sector demonstrated a significant role in post-earthquake construction. In the past three years, the convention and exhibition sector has seized the opportunity of post-earthquake reconstruction, expansion of domestic demands, and pilot zone construction.

The sector has kept a foothold with its competitive industries and resources, while adhering to the development strategy of "internationalization, branding and specialization."

The Chinese convention and exhibition economy is developing vigorously. Competition and cooperation between cities hosting conventions and exhibitions have recently become commonplace. The following demonstrate the ways Chengdu is boosting the convention and exhibition business.

1. Establish three-step strategy and make step-by-step construction

Chengdu has followed a plan for changing itself into an international modern garden city. It has put forward a three-step strategy in developing the convention and exhibition business.

By 2015, Chengdu will develop into the largest conventions and exhibitions host in the central and western region and become a first-class member in the country.

By 2030, it will develop into a famous city in Asia for conventions and exhibitions.

By 2050, it will be a world famous city for conventions and exhibitions. Meanwhile, it will carry out the strategy to develop the convention and exhibition business in the orientation of "brands, specialization and internationalization". It will cultivate Chengdu into "an area gathering name brands of convention and exhibition sponsors, a destination of international conferences, and best loved place in west China for recreations and celebrations." For this purpose, it has exerted all efforts to boost the convention and exhibition economy. This is why Chengdu is developing itself into the capital of conventions and exhibitions.

2. Greater scale and strength and doubled interests brought by economics and industries

Chengdu is constructing a modern industrial system and promoting the development of high-end industries. The convention and exhibition sector will play a significant role in this process by deepening interaction between the primary, secondary and tertiary industries and harmonizing regional development. The city has set up seminars and quality professional exhibitions as platforms to develop the convention and exhibition business closely.

It has issued leading edge information, acquired sophisticated technologies, and gathered industrial leaders to promote investment through conventions and exhibitions.

In 2010, Chengdu held 382 major conventions and celebrations, and held exhibitions totaling 1.9 million square meters. The convention and exhibition sector contributed 2.38 billion yuan to added values. Direct income from the conventions and exhibitions amounted to 3.239 billion yuan. They pulled up 27.287 billion yuan in consumption.

3. Greater popularity

In the past three years, the Chengdu convention and exhibition sector has gained a higher reputation and become more influential in the country. Chengdu has been awarded with a series of honorary titles by national administrations and the news media.

Behind the successful stories are the efforts Chengdu has used to promote itself as a city for conventions and exhibitions. Chengdu is often seen spreading publicity materials at national industrial conferences, promoting the city image, industrial environments, supporting policies, and achievements. In addition to promoting itself in professional media and high-end conferences, Chengdu has taken the initiative to sign cooperation protocols with 11 famous cities hosting conventions and exhibitions, such as Qingdao and Nanjing, for more exchange and cooperation, and facilitating orderly and complementary development.

4. Best industrial environment

Chengdu has vigorously expanded companies focusing on conventions, exhibitions and tourism services. It has stimulated regional economic development with conventions, exhibitions and tourism. To date, many companies are devoted to developing conventions, exhibitions, tourism, and real estate businesses, to benefit from the industrial chain.

The upstream and downstream of the convention and exhibition business has become more mature. Companies from 20 industrial sectors, including convention and exhibition centers, hotels, travel services, restaurants, advertisements, and translations, have set up the "convention and exhibition service league" to furnish all-round quality services for conventions and exhibitions.

The Chengdu Convention and Exhibition Industrial Association, Chengdu Tourism Association, and Chengdu Catering Society have organized 100 companies to set up a convention, exhibition and tourism alliance to share resources.

In addition, Chengdu has constructed a total of 200,000 square meters in exhibition halls. The main exhibition halls are supported by sound facilities for recreational, entertainment, business, tourism and culture activities.

Chengdu has also actively implemented the optimization reform strategy to speed up construction of convention and exhibition facilities. For instance, the Sichuan provincial government is planning to construct the West China International Expo Quarter.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 06:30 PM   #4493
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Does Chengru, as of now, have any scheduled direct passenger trains to Urumqi?
Alashankow?
Yining?
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Old November 12th, 2011, 07:11 PM   #4494
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Does Chengru, as of now, have any scheduled direct passenger trains to Urumqi?
According to this website there is : http://www.tielu.org

The trip is 47h41 long, covering a distance of 3026km. Not sure if it involves a change of trains but it is under one train number : http://www.tielu.org/Search/K452-K453.html
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Old November 13th, 2011, 06:10 AM   #4495
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The Railway Gazette
http://www.railwaygazette.com/nc/new...er-2011-1.html

Quote:
News in Brief - November 2011
09 November 2011
...
Work has begun on a 54·4 km rail link from the Dongsheng district of Ordos in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to the city’s airport. The double-track line with one underground, two elevated and three surface stations is expected to be completed by 2015.
...
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Old November 15th, 2011, 11:18 AM   #4496
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Sorry for O/T but why was Luli banned? (Mods feel free to delete this if it gets in the way)
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmmwv View Post
I have the same question too as he's contributed a lot to this forum.
+3 +many other silent supporters

I absolutely agree with all the above posts -- Luli Pop has always been contributing very significantly to many SSC forums.

I hope SSC mods will be kind enough to reconsidering this Luli Pop banning and restore Luli Pop access.

If SSC mods thinks I am stepping out of the line, then please inform me here.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 02:55 AM   #4497
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Originally Posted by Mika Montwald View Post
+3 +many other silent supporters

I absolutely agree with all the above posts -- Luli Pop has always been contributing very significantly to many SSC forums.

I hope SSC mods will be kind enough to reconsidering this Luli Pop banning and restore Luli Pop access.

If SSC mods thinks I am stepping out of the line, then please inform me here.
No please don't count me as a supporter of him/her, they didn't really contribute much aside from anti-western sentiment, I was just curious is all.
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And he kicked so many rosebushes at her that eventually, Sasuke turned into a log.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 10:19 AM   #4498
hkskyline
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Smaller units to supervise railways
Updated: 2011-11-23 07:55
China Daily

BEIJING - In its latest attempt to make the country's rail system safer, the Ministry of Railways has ordered its subordinate bureaus to divide up large railway stations and railroad and train maintenance units.

Once reformed, those entities will be charged with taking special care of high-speed railways.

The Beijing Railway Bureau, according to reports, has been the first to take steps in that direction. The Beijing South Railway Station, where trains that can run at 300 km an hour depart from Beijing for Shanghai and Tianjin, now governs itself.

Before the latest changes, the south station had operated under the Beijing Railway Station.

The Tianjin West Railway Station has also become independent. Both high-speed railway stations now operate directly under the Beijing Railway Bureau.

The ministry's plan calls not only for railway stations to be broken up, but also the large units that are responsible for maintaining rail tracks and trains.

"As the high-speed rail network is extended each unit should oversee a reasonable stretch of the rails ensuring that the management of high-speed railways will be more professional," the ministry said in a news release.

The large units that exist in the railway system resulted from reforms instituted in 2005 by the previous railway minister, Liu Zhijun. He eliminated many sub-bureaus to make the railway system more efficient.

His changes made 18 railway bureaus directly responsible for supervising thousands of railway stations and maintenance units - which proved to be too many for the bureaus.

To make their burden lighter, various railway stations and maintenance units were merged into bigger ones.

"Some railway maintenance units are responsible for railways that stretch for more than 1,000 km and cross several provinces," said a railway insider who declined to give his name. "Maintenance workers had to travel hundreds of miles to do their jobs."

Zhao Jian, a professor specializing in transport at Beijing Jiaotong University, said some units had employed as many as 10,000 workers, a number that was difficult to manage.

With rail safety becoming a top priority, the ministry's changes will make each unit responsible for supervising a fairly short stretch of railway. Some will specialize in overseeing high-speed railways and trains.

"It will be easier to manage fewer employees," Zhao said.

Passengers should not be worried about how the reforms will affect them, said a publicity official with the Beijing Railway Station who did not want to provide his full name. He said they are "more of a change inside the railway system".

Meanwhile, the ministry called on railway bureaus to pay closer attention to the condition of the high-speed rail system, especially during the winter, when there will be more snowfalls and freezing weather.

The two measures come as the public awaits a yet-to-be-published report explaining the causes of the deadly bullet-train crash that occurred in Wenzhou in July, killing 40 people and leaving nearly 200 injured.

A report in the Beijing Times on Monday quoted Wang Mengshu, an expert investigator looking into the crash, as saying that "the biggest flaw was not in technology, but in the loopholes in management".

That statement contradicted the results of a preliminary investigation, which blamed the crash mainly on design flaws in the railway's signaling equipment.

Wang later told Xinhua News Agency that he had only expressed his own opinion and that his words had been misused in the report.
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Old November 25th, 2011, 07:52 AM   #4499
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China expands online service of train tickets

BEIJING, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- China expanded online purchase service of train tickets Sunday by including Z nonstop express trains nationwide into the service, to save passengers from long-time queuing.

Passengers can log on at www.12306.cn, the ministry's official online ticket-booking website, to buy train tickets, China Daily reported Sunday.

The webiste initiated the online service in June, but only for high-speed trains like G and D fast trains, and the C intercity express trains, the report said.

Tickets for the T express trains will be available online from Dec. 10, the report said, citing the Ministry of Railways.

Compared with the better equipped and more expensive high-speed trains, Z and T trains run at a top speed of 160 kilometers an hour, much slower than the high-speed trains.

The People's Daily reported earlier that railway minister Sheng Guangzu said all trains, including the slow trains, will have tickets sold online by the end of this year.

The move will help eliminate the aggravation of waiting in line at railway stations and ticket outlets and may also help curb ticket scalping, according to the report.
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Old November 25th, 2011, 04:07 PM   #4500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
China expands online service of train tickets

BEIJING, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- China expanded online purchase service of train tickets Sunday by including Z nonstop express trains nationwide into the service, to save passengers from long-time queuing.

Passengers can log on at www.12306.cn, the ministry's official online ticket-booking website, to buy train tickets, China Daily reported Sunday.

The webiste initiated the online service in June, but only for high-speed trains like G and D fast trains, and the C intercity express trains, the report said.

Tickets for the T express trains will be available online from Dec. 10, the report said, citing the Ministry of Railways.

Compared with the better equipped and more expensive high-speed trains, Z and T trains run at a top speed of 160 kilometers an hour, much slower than the high-speed trains.

The People's Daily reported earlier that railway minister Sheng Guangzu said all trains, including the slow trains, will have tickets sold online by the end of this year.

The move will help eliminate the aggravation of waiting in line at railway stations and ticket outlets and may also help curb ticket scalping, according to the report.
Is it available for foreigners yet? An English website would be far easier than waiting in a queue for an hour, only to find out the person doesn't speak English and doesn't understand where you want to go
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