CHINA has released its broad-brush National Transport Planning Outline 2021-2035, which reinforces its goal to increase the national rail network to 70,000km of high-speed lines and 130,000km of conventional lines by 2035.

This includes a focus on developing inter-city networks in the Jingjinji, Yangtse delta, Greater Bay and Chongqing-Chengdu areas.

The plan also includes exploring the development of a trial maglev system connecting major cities. China has two projects currently underway at an early stage of developing maglev trains capable of operating at around 600km/h, as well as two operational low speed maglev systems and more under development.

Five key goals for the rail sector were outlined during a press conference on the plan on March 1 at the State Council, which was attended by Mr Liu Zhenfang, director of the National Railway Administration.

According to the plan, the first goal is to boost innovation through a reformation of the rail supply sector. This will use the “Internet +” and the “Internet of Things +” to drive progress, as well as 5G, artificial intelligence and other modern information technologies.

The second goal is to better integrate rail with other transport modes. This includes developing more multi-modal hubs; improving integration with road, sea and air; and optimising and adjusting networks to reduce the distance passengers must travel between modes, creating seamless logistics connections.

Improving the quality of rail transport services is another goal, which will be achieved through a high-capacity, high-quality and highly efficient inter-regional rapid passenger transport system based on high-speed rail. This also includes the launch of high-speed freight services, as well as the development of cold freight services, improved urban-rural distribution and the creation of new rail freight products that meet market demand.

The fourth goal is to develop a safe and environmentally-friendly, low-carbon railway. This will be achieved by enhancing the safety and durability of infrastructure and improving the level of intelligence and standardisation of transport equipment, supported by a comprehensive and coordinated railway governance system.

Finally, China is planning to provide better international services. This will be achieved by actively promoting the interconnection of rail infrastructure with neighbouring countries, accelerating the construction of new land-sea corridors in the west of China, improving the quality and efficiency of China-Europe services, and further boosting international logistics and trade channels.