Passengers wait to board a high-speed train on the Beijing-Tangshan intercity railway in Beijing on Dec 30. (Photo/Xinhua)
Thanks to the optimization of domestic COVID-19 prevention and control measures and the accelerated efforts of some State builders, many key infrastructure projects nationwide started operating on schedule or in advance, which experts said is expected to help further boost the nation's economic recovery by playing a bigger role in driving up not only investment but also employment and consumption.
In southwestern China's Chongqing, the east ring railroad construction has been completed recently, linking Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport with high-speed railway services.
With a total length of 158.6 kilometers, the Chongqing east ring railroad connects eight stations and has a designed speed of 160 kilometers per hour, said China Railway 24th Bureau Group Corp Ltd (CR24), a State-owned enterprise that participated in the project.
"The railroad is a major local project which aims to link major transportation hubs in the mountainous city and shortens transportation time for residents. We spared no efforts to this end," said Feng Wenbo, project manager with CR24, a unit of the centrally administered State-owned enterprise China Railway Construction Corp.
Feng said apart from experts with the project team, during the construction process, the team recruited local employees for special equipment operations and safety watching, and offered related occupational training, which is "quite a key move in making the whole construction process go smoothly".
"We really benefited by having them on the team, especially on such a project which involves many relocation works. Meanwhile, employees are also learning and earning during the construction process," Feng said.
The Chongqing project is part of CR24's enhanced efforts in this sector. A 150-km intercity high-speed railway line linking Beijing and Tangshan in North China's Hebei province began service recently.
With a designed speed of 350 km/h, the new railway line, partially constructed by CR24, has slashed travel time between the two cities to around one hour.
This intercity railway has not only facilitated travel for residents in areas close to Beijing but has also improved the development prospects of the city cluster, said He Jin, an engineer with the China Railway Design Corp.
Launched as a rapid transit corridor from Beijing to Tangshan, the Beijing-Tangshan intercity railway line is of great significance in driving economic development efforts in regions located along the route and for promoting the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
CR24's efforts are also evident in regions in East China. In Anhui province, a renovation project of Suzhou Station — a railway hub along the Beijing-Shanghai railway — has been completed and resumed operations. The project aims to improve the traffic and livelihoods of Suzhou and further boost the city's investment environment.
Connecting 33 stations in Jiangxi and Fujian provinces, the Xingguo-Quanzhou Railway started operating. The railway serves as a crucial link for inland Jiangxi province, especially in terms of trade and tourism.
Similar projects across the nation are not only driving economic growth but also enhancing the welfare of residents, experts said.
As noted by the Central Economic Work Conference that "the country will focus on boosting domestic demand next year (2023) by prioritizing the recovery and expansion of consumption", infrastructure efforts by SOEs are conducive to helping recover confidence in consumption, said Ren Zeping, an online influencer and former chief economist of property giant Evergrande.