China plans 6,800km of new rail track in 2019 amid infrastructure push

China plans to invest in 6,800km worth of new railway lines in 2019. At least 3,200km will be high-speed rail, according to the China Railway Corp. PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China plans to invest in 6,800km worth of new railway lines in 2019, a 40 per cent jump from the length of tracks laid last year, the national railway operator said on Wednesday (Jan 2) amid a wider push to boost infrastructure spending.

At least 3,200km of this target will be high-speed rail, the China Railway Corp said in a post on its official WeChat account.

China Railway Corp said it invested in 4,683km worth of new rail lines last year, of which 4,100km were for high-speed rail.

The country invested 802.9 billion yuan (S$159 billion) in rail fixed assets in 2018, the company added. It had set an initial budget of 732 billion yuan in January last year.

It did not give an investment target for 2019.

China has spent billions of dollars in its railway network over the past decade, but there have been signs that this was starting to slow as the network grew and Beijing began to crack down on local government debt. Its 2018 investment target was its lowest since 2013.

However, the government began to speed up investment spending in the second half of last year in a bid to spur growth in the country's slowing economy by approving new railway projects and reviving suspended ones.

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