ADB helping plan Lanzhou-Chongqing Rail in China
Manila, Philippines – ADB is helping to design a project to construct a railway through mountainous parts of Gansu, Shaanxi, and Sichuan provinces and Chongqing municipality in the People’s Republic of China through a grant of US$500,000.
The grant will strengthen the Government’s planning for the project, which would involve construction of 817 kilometers of electrified line and 21 new stations linking the city of Lanzhou in the northwest to Chongqing in the southwest. Because of the hilly terrain, some three quarters of the route’s length will comprise tunnels and bridges.
The project area will encompass 13 counties and cities with a total population of about 15 million, two thirds of which is rural. Most people living in the project area work in low yielding agriculture. Despite the area’s rich natural resources and tourist potential, the people have remained largely poor and cut off from mainstream development due to lack of transport.
No expressway or railway connects this region. The railway link will provide the shortest north-south rail route from Xinjiang, Baoji, and Lanzhou to Chongqing and Kunming. The line will also connect Central Asia (Alashankou-Xinjiang-Lanzhou) with Southeast Asia (Chongqing-Guiyang-Kunming-Hekou).
"The planned railway will, during its operation and construction, increase local people’s access to jobs, markets and services and give them an opportunity to improve their living standards," says Manmohan Parkash, ADB Senior Transport Specialist and team leader for the project.
The project is planned as a joint venture between the Ministry of Railways (MOR) and the Chongqing, Gansu, and Sichuan local governments and will be implemented by MOR.
Among the planning activities planned under the technical assistance (TA) grant project are field surveys, document reviews, data analysis, and consultations with stakeholders, including government officials, affected people, and project beneficiaries. The TA is expected to be completed by around May 2007.
ADB’s strategy for China’s railway sector focuses on expanding the system in underserved and poor areas, modernizing key routes to improve transport efficiency, and commercializing operations to ensure efficient running of the rail service.