BEIJING, March 6 -- China is to start building its second high-speed magnetic levitation rail line at the end of this year, according to a press conference in Beijing.
This was revealed by Sheng Changli, vice-governor of East China's Zhejiang Province on the sideline of the ongoing 4th plenary session of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.
China currently operates the world's only commercial maglev line, which connects Shanghai's international airport to near the city's financial centre in Pudong district, a run of 30 kilometres (19 miles).
The new line, linking the economic hub of Shanghai and Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province, runs about 150 kilometers, said Sheng, also a NPC deputy.
The female leader is confident that the railway is sure to promote the development of Shanghai, Hangzhou and the Yangtze River Delta.
The contruction is expected to take four years at a total cost of 35 billion yuan (US$4.3 billion), Xinhua News Agency cited an anonymous Shanghai source close to the project as saying.
"It is expected to go into operation before the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai," the source said of the line, designed to ease traffic pressure between the two cities during the World Expo.
The planed railway allows maglev trains to run at a speed as high as 430 kilometers an hour, which means that it will take passengers only half an hour to travel from Shanghai to Hangzhou.
Experts predict 70 million visits to the Shanghai World Expo, producing a demand that existing accommodation facilities in Shanghai can not meet, the Xinhua story said.
"The Shanghai-Hangzhou railway will in part use German technology, but the main technology comes from Chinese engineers," the source added.