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Infrastructure money continues to pour into Kunming

Planning Map of Kunming Subway System Image: Kunming Rail Transit Group

Planning Map of Kunming Subway System Image: Kunming Rail Transit Group

The seemingly unlimited supply of development money made available to Spring City urban planners shows no signs of letting up. A new report released by the municipal governmentreveals 340 billion yuan (US$54.3 billion) has been allocated to “accelerate” construction, especially on the city’s metro, railway and highway systems, over the next five years.

Referred to as the “Comprehensive Transportation Campaign” (CTC), program costs include having at least six fully functioning metro lines by the year 2020, up from the current number of two-and-a-half. When finished, the above- and below-ground sections of the Kunming Metro will cover 206 kilometers. Three additional lines are also under consideration, but will not be finished by 2020.

It is not only the metro that will receive huge amounts of funding. So too will railway ventures designed to make Yunnan more connected not only to the rest of China, but also to its Southeast Asian neighbors. Among the 12 railroads receiving CTC money is a line that will one day connect Lhasa to Shangri-la and then Kunming, a bullet train to Shanghai and other railways linking up with Chongqing, and cities in Guizhou, Myanmar and Vietnam.

In addition to the expenditures for the metro system and vast railway upgrades, the Comprehensive Transportation Campaign will add more than 20 newly built or drastically expanded traffic expressways radiating outwards from the Spring City. The network of roads is planned to connect all of the “economically important cities of central Yunnan” and in some cases drastically reduce driving times.

One other key initiative involves logistics and Dianchi Lake. To facilitate all of the planned trade coming into and leaving Kunming once the aforementioned projects are completed, an enormous “integrated transport hub” is under consideration for Chenggong. If approved — and it appears the money has already been set aside — a 458 million yuan (US$73 million) shipping and receiving facility would be built on the shores of the lake, complete with a wharf.

The CTC’s 340 billion yuan price tag should provide a significant economic jolt to a city already in the throes of a long-lasting and frenetic building boom. In 2014, the entire province saw 70 billion yuan earmarked for infrastructure work — a number almost matched by annual CTC outlays for the Spring City alone. It appears provincial leaders, and those in Beijing, are still quite serious in their intentions to transform Kunming into a hub connecting greater China with Southeast Asia and beyond.

Editors note: This article was originally published on GoKunming and written by Patrick Scally. It is republished here, in its entirety, with permission from the author.

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Filed under Governance, SLIDER, Technology, Yunnan Province

Official: Yunnan will have two bullet trains by 2016

Engine of a Chinese high speed train parked at a railway station platform, Shanghai, China.  Image: Corbis

Engine of a Chinese high speed train parked at a railway station platform, Shanghai, China. Image: Corbis

Announcing specific completion timetables for infrastructure endeavors is a dicey business in China. If a project suffers setbacks and deadlines pass without completion, officials can lose their jobs. This reality makes it maddeningly difficult to guess with any accuracy when work on a given venture might actually conclude.

Such is the case with high-speed railways in Yunnan. Initial forecasts first made public six years ago anticipated at least two separate inter-city bullet train lines would be running in the province by 2015. That goal is apparently no longer feasible, but the head of the Kunming Railway Bureau (KRB) appears confident work will be completed less than two years from now.

Zhang Caichun (张才春), KRB party secretary, publicly declared both the Shanghai-Kunming (沪昆高铁) and Yunnan-Guangxi (云桂高铁) lines would be operational by the end of 2016. He made the comments October 30 while taking calls for the Mayor’s Hotline — a phone service established to make government officials more available to the public.

The Shanghai-Kunming High-Speed Railway will connect the now under-construction railway station in Chenggong to China’s most populous municipality. The dual track, passenger-only railway, will cover 2,066 kilometers and pass through the major cities of Hangzhou, Nanchang, Changsha and Guiyang. A full journey is projected to take eight to ten hours at cruising speeds of between 200 and 300 kilometers per hour.

Zhang’s comments confirmed reports regarding the Shanghai-Kunming line from last year. However, up until Thursday, no concrete schedule for the 754-kilometer Yunnan-Guangxi line had been announced. According to Zhang, that line — connecting Kunming to Nanning, and eventually Guangzhou — will be finished two years from now, at the same time as the Shanghai project. The Kunming terminus will be the existing Kunming Train Station, another detail left up in the air until Zhang began taking phone calls.

During his time speaking with the public, the railway chief also revealed details of what passengers can expect when boarding bullet trains in Yunnan. Some staff, according to Zhang, will be decked out in minority dress common to the areas through which the trains travel and dining cars will feature minority cuisine. On a more practical level, trains will all be equipped with wi-fi capability.

This article was originally posted on the GoKunming website by in News and published

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Filed under China, Current Events, Economic development, SLIDER, Yunnan Province