||The Project will remove a transport constraint to sustainable economic growth. Providing economic railway transporation in the unserved, less-developed, and poor areas will help create conditions necessary for developing local resources and generating employment and income-enhancing opportunities to raise living standards in the project area. The project comprises the following components: (i) construction of 459 km double-track electrified standard gauge Class I passenger dedicated railway between Zhengzhou and Xi'an, (ii) construction of 9 new railway stations complete with facilities, (iii) safety initiatives, including provision of modern technology and equipment for enhancing safety, (iv) e-governance and operating disptach information system, (v) provision of training on the use and maintenance of modern equipment, (vi) land acqusition and resettlement, (vii) environmental protection and mitigation of adverse environmental effects, (viii) consulting services for construction supervision, monitoring and evaluation, and marketing and business development, and (ix) strengthening of institutional capabilities. The key inputs needed for project implementation include civil works, equipment, consultants, and staff of MOR and the Project Company.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
The Project meets the railway sector operational strategy of ADB for the PRC to reduce railway network constraints and to promote sustainable economic growth in poor areas not served by railways. The Project is also in line with the Government's western development strategy to provide less-developed regions with better infrastructure to facilitate economic growth, thereby increasing the opportunity for people to improve their living standards. The interior regions in the PRC have not benefited as much from economic growth and reforms as the east coast. The gap in economic and social development has increased. Transport constraints and high logistics costs are two of the factors contributing to regional economic disparities and are two of the constraints that prevent the western region from capitalizing on its comparative advantages. The proposed Project is one of the eight passenger dedicated corridors to be developed by 2020. The proposed alignment for the ZXR is 50 km shorter than the existing Longhai railway line. Traversing Henan and Shaanxi Provinces, the proposed railway line with connect with Beijing-Guangzhou, Shanghai-Xuzhou and Beijing-Wuhan main lines on the east and Xi'an-Baoji-Lanzhou, Xi'an-Baoji-Chengdu, Xi'an-Ankang, and Xi'an-Yan'an main lines on the west. This is the main east-west corridor linking Beijing, Shanghai, Lianyunang and other major cities and ports in the east, Xi'an, Baoji, Lanzhou, Urumqi, Chengdu, Chongqing, in the west. The Project will also help in promoting the regional cooperation as this is the main east-west corridor linking PRC to Central Asia and Europe. The Project, a joint-venture railway between the Ministry of Railways (MOR) and Henan and Shaanxi provincial governments (HPG and SPG), will have substantial managerial and financial autonomy. The Project will contribute to changing the railway enterprises from a cost center in a planned economy to a profit center in an increasingly competitive transport market. The components are formulated in line with MOR's 2004 railway development plan.
As of end-2003, the PRC's railway system comprised 72,000 route-km of local railways including 26,700 route-km railways in the western region. The railway system reached 75,000 route-km by 2005. Given the location of the population, natural resources, and industries in the PRC, the current size of the railway network does not provide adequate coverage. There are vast inland areas in the central and western parts of the country that do not have any rail transport. The lack of railway capacity to meet the increasing demand for transportation services is constrianing economic growth. The Government's Railway Development Plan for 1998-2004 gives priority to unserved areas, particularly railway lines that would improve links between the poor inland provinces in the western and central PRC and the more prosperous coastal areas. The Project will provide a vital link between the inland provinces to the eastern region.