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China's First Privately-Owned High-Speed Railway Begins Operation

Hangzhou

The national railway operator China State Railway Group announced that a new high-speed railway in East China's Zhejiang province started operations between Hangzhou and Taizhou.

It is China's first high-speed railway with a controlling stake held by private capital, according to the news on haiwainet.cn

The project is funded by a PPP (Public-Private Partnership), with private capital accounting for 51 percent of the 44.9-billion-yuan ($6.95 billion) investment. The 266-kilometer line links Hangzhou and Taizhou, passing Shaoxing, all important cities with prosperous economic development, and will cut travel time between the two destinations from about two hours to one hour.

The new railway is located in the hilly areas of central and eastern Zhejiang, which posed challenges to construction and design. Eighty-seven bridges and 56 tunnels have been built along the railway, accounting for 89 percent of the line's length.

In September 2017, Fosun Group took the lead in establishing a private consortium and signed the railway PPP project investment contract, with additional funding of 15 percent from China Railway Development Fund, 13.6 percent from Zhejiang Provincial Transportation Investment Group on behalf of the provincial government, and 10.2 percent each from Shaoxing and Taizhou, according to media reports.

On peak days, as many as 70 bullet train services will be offered along the railway.

The line also has adopted a new model of management to build the railway. China's railway projects have usually been designed and constructed by different companies. The new line has one general contractor, China Railway Design Corp, who plays a leading role to deeply integrate design, material purchase and construction.

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