China will stop at nothing in its ultimate mission to cover the entire Middle Kingdom in rails, planning to add 30,000 kilometers of new track by 2020.
To do this, they plan to spend 3.5 trillion RMB ($509 billion) on railways during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020). Additionally, 11,000 kilometers of the new track will be for high-speed rail, according to speech made on Monday by Li Xiaopeng, China’s Minister of Transport.
That 3.5 trillion RMB is only a small portion of the 15 trillion RMB ($2.2 trillion) that China plans to invest in transport infrastructure over the same period, including allocating 7.8 trillion RMB on roads, 650 billion yuan on civil aviation and 500 billion yuan on water transport.
It’s not clear how much of the money will go into developing the “straddling bus.”
In 2017 alone, China is looking to begin work on a whopping 35 new railway projects, spending at least 800 billion RMB ($116 billion) in the process.
At the end of last year, China was criss-crossed by an astounding 124,000 kilometers of rail lines including 22,000 kilometers of high-speed track.
Of course, there’s almost nothing in the world that China loves more than a new train line. In the near future, the country is planning to build railways to Thailand and Tibet, along with Maglev trains that can top out at 600 km/h, making the trip between Shanghai and Beijing in just two hours.
In the more distant future, China would also be interested in a railway through the Himalayas, around the Pacific, or to Taiwan — though we aren’t sure which one of those is most likely to happen.
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