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Fosun's Intelligent Manufacturing: China's First Privately-owned High-speed Railway Starts Operation

At 9:26 on 8 January 2022, the first pair of Hangzhou-Taizhou high-speed train departed respectively from Taizhou Railway Station to Hangzhou and from Shengzhou Xinchang Railway Station to Wenling at the same time, marking the official opening of Hangzhou-Taizhou High-speed Railway (Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway), China's first high-speed railway controlled by the private investor consortium led by Fosun International. As a demonstration project for railway construction investment and financing reform, its successful operation will provide a strong endorsement for the investment and construction of high-speed railway in China in the future and will be of great significance for China's economic development and social progress.    

The opening ceremony of Hangzhou-Taizhou High-speed Railway was broadcasted via a video link, with the main venue in Hangzhou, and branch-venues set up in Shengzhou Xinchang Station and Taizhou Railway Station. Yuan Jiajun, Secretary of CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of Zhejiang Provincial People's Congress, attended the opening ceremony and announced the inauguration of Hangzhou-Taizhou High-speed Railway.  

Guo Guangchang, Chairman of Fosun International, which is the initiator of the private investor consortium, says:“The Hangzhou-Taizhou High-speed Railway is not only a demonstration project for investment and funding reform of railway construction of China, but also a successful example of utilizing market-oriented mechanism to operate public service projects by fully leveraging the strengths of private capital in mechanism and efficiency. It is a great honor for Fosun International to invest in the construction of Hangzhou-Taizhou High-speed Railway, which never would have happened without the continuous unleashing of reform dividends, the ceaseless optimization of market and economic environment, and more importantly, the trust and support of the local government and people.”  

As an integral part of China's coastal express railway for passenger transport, Hangzhou-Taizhou High-speed Railway links three cities: Hangzhou, Shaoxing and Taizhou. According to an approved feasibility report, the total investment of the project is RMB 44.89 billion. The train runs at a designated speed of 350 kilometers per hour and the total length of the railway reaches 266.9 kilometers (of which 226.369 kilometers are newly constructed). Along the main line of the railway lie 87 bridges and 56 tunnels, with a bridge-to-tunnel ratio of 89%. The railway passes through nine stations, namely Hangzhou East Railway Station, Shaoxing North Railway Station, Shangyu South Railway Station, Shengzhou North Railway Station, Shengzhou Xinchang Railway Station, Tiantaishan Railway Station, Linhai Railway Station, Taizhou Railway Station and Wenling Railway Station. Each of the stations features the local cultural elements in its design, offering passengers"unique scenery for each station".

The Hangzhou-Taizhou High-speed Railway has been identified by the National Development and Reform Commission as one of the eight exemplary railway projects in China funded by private investors. On 11 September 2017, the People's Government of Zhejiang Province and the private investor consortium led by Fosun International signed the Investment Contract for PPP Project of Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou Railway, marking the official initiation of the project. The project shareholding ratio under the contract is stipulated as follows: the private investor consortium takes a 51% equity stake in the project; China Railway Development Fund Co., Ltd., 15%; Zhejiang (Communications Investment Group Co., Ltd.), 13.6%; Taizhou (Railway Construction Investment Co., Ltd.), 10.2%; and finally Shaoxing (Communications Investment Group Co., Ltd.), 10.2%.

The construction of Hangzhou-Taizhou High-speed Railway commenced on 28 December 2017. With the spotlight and strong support from all relevant parties, the railway construction units and entities have stuck to reform and innovation with Party building as the core. After over 1,400 days and nights of hard work, they have overcome a series of challenges such as a tight work schedule, laborious tasks and many engineering bottlenecks, and have persisted through unfavorable conditions such as typhoons and COVID-19 pandemic outbreaks. Thanks to their hard efforts, a safe, orderly and rapid progress of the project has been ensured, and a high-quality project delivery has been achieved. Furthermore, the project has set several records in the history of high-speed railway construction, including the depth of 143 meters drilled at the main piers of Jiaojiang grand bridge, China's first trial to use diatomaceous earth in construction, the longest tunnel in East China (Dongming Tunnel with a length of 18.266 kilometers), and the first single-bore four-lane tunnel with a large cross-section.      

The Hangzhou-Taizhou High-speed Railway also travels through the "Road of Tang Poetry in Eastern Zhejiang", with links to a large number of scenic spots and historical sites including the Former Residence of Lu Xun, Tianmu Mountain National Scenic Area, Tiantai Mountain Scenic Area, and City Wall of Taizhou, making it a golden corridor for tourism in Zhejiang Province. The opening of the railway will connect Shengzhou, Xinchang and Tiantai by railway for the first time. Additionally, the railway will be connected to other high-speed railways including Shanghai-Kunming High-speed Railway, Shangqiu-Hefei-Hangzhou High-speed Railway, Ningbo-Hangzhou High-speed Railway, Hangzhou-Huangshan High-speed Railway and Hangzhou-Shenzhen High-speed Railway, and will be linked to the high-speed railway network in the Yangtze River Delta Region,thus shortening the railway journey between Taizhou and Hangzhou to about one hour. Also, it expands the area of "one-hour transport radius" of Zhejiang Province, providing more convenient travel for people, and allowing them to share the common achievements of reform.             

The Hangzhou-Taizhou High-speed Railway, after its opening, will not only speed up the integration of Wenzhou-Taizhou coastal city cluster into the Yangtze River Economic Belt, but also enhance the connection among cities, promote the economic and social development of the areas along the railway, contribute to the ambition of Zhejiang Province in building a high-quality demonstration zone for shared prosperity, and press ahead with the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta.

Xu Xiaoliang, Co-CEO of Fosun International mentions, “It is a great honor for Fosun International to contribute its share to the construction of national infrastructure through investing in the construction of Hangzhou-Taizhou High-speed Railway. It is a huge opportunity given to us by this great period, and also represents the mission and responsibility of private enterprises to fulfill their corporate social responsibility and contribute to common prosperity. Looking forward, we will stay true to our original aspiration, give full play to Hangzhou-Taizhou High-speed Railway as a demonstration project and better dedicate ourselves to national reform and social progress.”    

It is reported that four pairs of bullet trains are scheduled for the first day of operation of Hangzhou-Taizhou High-speed Railway (8 January 2022), and six pairs are scheduled for 9 January 2022. On 10 January 2022, a new national railway operating plan will be implemented, and 35 pairs of bullet trains (34 pairs during weekdays and one pair on the weekend) will be arranged for Hangzhou-Taizhou High-speed Railway in accordance with the new operating plan. The operation time of train from Hangzhou to Taizhou will be as short as 1 hour 3 minutes, shortening it by 47 minutes compared with the previous route via Hangzhou-Shenzhen High-speed Railway.