China’s top economic planner has approved a high-speed rail project connecting Beijing’s Tongzhou district, the new home to most city government agencies, and the industrial city of Tangshan in neighboring Hebei province.
Jingtang Intercity Railway Co has gained approval from the National Development and Reform Commission to build the 148.7-kilometer rail project with a total investment of 44.9 billion yuan ($6.58 billion), according to a statement posted on the commission’s website.
The project is a significant element of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integrated development plan, as the infrastructure connectivity will be beneficial to regional economic growth and make full use of tourist resources along the route.
The railway is expected to be completed by 2020. The trains will travel at speeds of between 200 km/h and 350 km/h and stop at eight stations in cities including Tianjin, and Langfang and Tangshan in Hebei.
Jingjinji Intercity Investment Co, one of the two shareholders of Jingtang Intercity Railway, will fund half of the development costs, while the other half will be paid using bank loans.
To recoup its outlay faster, Jingjinji Intercity Investment plans to develop the land around Tongzhou station by investing in commercial and residential real estate, Caixin Online, a domestic financial and business news media outlet, quoted Zhang Yong, the company’s deputy general manager, as saying.
In order to help the capital city function more efficiently as well as ease traffic congestion and air pollution, the authority decided to build Tongzhou, a less-developed district 20 km from the city center, as the subcenter of the city.
Cai Qi, acting and deputy mayor of Beijing, visited Tongzhou on Nov 4 to assess the progress of subcenter’s construction, listening to local officials’ reports on infrastructure, investment and education in Tongzhou. It was Cai’s first visit since being appointed to his current role on Oct 31.
In July last year, authorities announced that they will move the majority of Beijing government agencies from crowded downtown areas to the district by the end of 2017.
Yang Bin, head of Tongzhou, said the district will speed up the process of eliminating low-end industries and upgrade its industrial structure, adding that creating a green environment will be the focus of its development.
According to a railway construction plan for Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei released last year by a design unit of China Railway Corp, 24 intercity railways around Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province, will be completed by 2050, eight of which will be finished by 2020.