The first high-speed railway majority-owned by private investors in China completed
In the morning on 22 June 2021, a group of construction workers were toiling at the construction site of the Wenling Station (溫嶺站), the terminal of the first high-speed railway that is majority-owned by private investors in China—the Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway. They paved the last pair of long steel rails on the ballastless track, marking the completion of the laying of the rails of the railway whose construction was spearheaded by a consortium of private investors led by Fosun. The whole railway is poised to be put into operation at the end of the year.
On the spot： The laying of rails is completed for the Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway.
The Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway is one of the eight exemplary railway projects funded by private investors. The length of the whole railway is 266.9 kilometers with a designed speed of 350 km/h. There are eight stations on the railway, namely Shaoxing North, Shangyu South, Shengzhou North, Shengzhou Xinchang, Tiantai Mountain, Linhai, Taizhou and Wenling.
On 11 September 2017, Zhejiang Provincial Government and the private investor consortium led by Fosun signed an agreement to invest in the Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou railway as a public-private partnership project. According to an approved feasibility report, the railway project called for a total investment of RMB44.89 billion and a registered capital that was equal to 30% of the total investment. The private investor consortium took a 51% equity stake in what was the first high-speed railway majority-owned by private investors in China. The project serves as a model for private investment in railways and marks the beginning of a new stage in the reform of the system for investing in and financing railway projects.
As the first high-speed railway that is majority-owned by private investors, the Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou railway is held up as an exemplary railway project that illustrates how the Central Government of China reforms the private sector and fosters its development.
Since the construction of the railway started officially at the end of 2017, the railway construction management unit and the fellow construction units have organized the work and cooperated closely in overcoming the difficulties such as the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, typhoons, harsh winters, the difficulty of constructing a railway in which bridges and tunnels accounted for around 90% of the entire length, and various major tasks and bottlenecks in the process. They have succeeded in completing the tasks in phases on schedule. As at the end of May, RMB38.8 billion has been invested in the project, accounting for 92% of the total investment. The project has broken several records in the history of high-speed railway construction, including the depth of 143 meters drilled for a pile at Jiaojiang Super Bridge’s main piers, the first construction with diatomaceous earth in China, the longest tunnel in eastern China, and the first single-bore tunnel with a large cross-section for four lanes, etc.
The work on CPC’s development serves as a guide to the construction of the Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway
After the laying of the rails of the whole railway, testing and coordination of all the sections of the railway, a trial operation and safety evaluation will be conducted. The railway is scheduled to be opened at the end of the year. The Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway will be connected to other high-speed railways such as the Shanghai-Kunming Railway, Shangqiu-Hefei-Hangzhou Railway, Nanjing–Hangzhou Railway, Hangzhou-Huangshan Railway and Hangzhou-Shenzhen Railway. It will also be linked to the high-speed railway network in the Yangtze River Delta Region, thus allowing quick access to southwestern Zhejiang, the urban area of the provincial capital Hangzhou and the clusters of coastal cities around Wenzhou and Taizhou. The time to travel by railway from Taizhou to Hangzhou will be shortened from two hours to around one hour, making it very convenient for the people living in the area along the railway to travel to the clusters of coastal cities around Wenzhou and Taizhou and facilitating integration of such clusters of cities into the Yangtze River Economic Belt. The Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway can broaden the present “one-hour transport radius” area of the Zhejiang province and expedite the economic integration of the Yangtze River Delta Region.