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China to spend over 2.8 trillion yuan on railways over next 5 years

A Tianjin bound China Railways CRH3 high speed train departs the Beijing South station in Beijing, China, on Aug 22, 2011.

[SHANGHAI] China plans to invest over 2.8 trillion yuan (S$617 billion) to build more than 23,000 kilometres of railway lines over the next five years, state media reported on Friday, citing industry sources.

The state-run Economic Information Daily said this was part of China's 13th Five-Year plan, a blueprint for economic and social development between 2016 and 2020, which Chinese leaders agreed on during a meeting last month.

Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said the focus will be on inter-city projects as well as the central and western regions of the country, and that the central government will increase budgetary funds to support the sector.

Almost 3.5 trillion yuan has been spent on China's railway sector since 2011, far exceeding the 2.8 trillion yuan target from the country's 12th Five-Year plan, the newspaper said.

The government has flagged it intends to spend more on infrastructure to avert a hard landing as the economy cools.

The country's total rail network, mostly built by state firms China Railway Group and China Railway Construction is now 112,000 kilometres long. Its high-speed rail network, the world's longest, is 16,000 kilometres long.