Tue, Jul 15, 2003 - Page 11 News List

China high-speed rail contract may be awarded to Japan

AFP , SHANGHAI

China is "more than 90 percent certain" to adopt Japan's bullet-train technology to build a new multi-billion dollar high-speed rail line between Beijing and Shanghai, state press reported yesterday.

Although Transrapid International, a consortium comprising German industrial engineers ThyssenKrupp AG and Siemens AG, has not yet given up hope that China would adopt its magnetic levitation or Maglev train, its prospects look dim, the Economic Observer said, citing the Ministry of Railways.

Earlier this month, German media reported that China was unlikely to proceed with its plan to build the 1,300km line based on the German space-age technology.

A senior member of the Siemens' management team said that it had received "clear signals that the decision will be taken in favor of the traditional train technology."

Hopes had been high after Shanghai installed the 430km per hour Maglev for commercial use on a line between the city's Pudong airport and downtown.

Following its successful test run earlier this year, former Chinese premier Zhu Rongji (朱隆基) said China would build a second "maglev" line from Shanghai to the eastern city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang province.

It was expected that Beijing-Shanghai may follow suit.

However, competition has been fierce, with France's TGV and Japan's Shinkansen bullet train vying for a contract worth an estimated US$12 billion as well as other proposals to connect major cities in China by high-speed rail.

Japan's Transport Minister Chikage Ogi said last week she wants to visit China to promote Japan's bullet train.

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