Construction of a high-speed rail link between Winter Olympics bid cities Beijing and Zhangjiakou is being accelerated, with work expected to begin by June, the municipal railway authority said.
“This high-speed rail line is urgently needed for the joint bid for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games,” said Zhu Huigang, deputy head of the Beijing Railway Bureau. “Time is pressing.
“The local governments of Beijing and Hebei province and the central government will make great efforts to push forward this project, and this will include the provision of financing support.”
The 174-kilometer line from the capital to Zhangjiakou and Chongli, where the snow events will be held if the bid succeeds, will cut the travel time between the two cities to less than an hour.
There will be nine stations on the route, and construction is due to be completed within four-and-a-half years.
Work on the railway was originally scheduled to start in August 2009, but the project was postponed because of changes to the overall plan for the high-speed rail network. Approval for the line was finally granted by the China Railway Corp in December.
Cao Kaifeng, deputy director of Yanqing’s traffic administration, said work on the most difficult part of the route, the section around Badaling, will start first.
A feasibility study of the section was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission in November. The 15.4-kilometer section will pass through two mountain tunnels, with trains traveling at up to 250 km/h.
Zhang Chunsheng, director of Zhangjiakou’s Olympic bid office, said the high-speed line will help the bid as well as benefiting residents. A station will be built a few minutes’ walk from the proposed site of the Olympic Village at Chongli, he added.