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high-speed rail

In China, High-speed Rail Increases Mobility and Drives Growth in Underdeveloped Regions

Gerald Ollivier's picture
Nanguang Railway is one of six rail lines currently supported by the World Bank in China and one of three that recently became operational. With a route length of 576 kilometers (358 miles), it connects the capital cities of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guangdong Province of China. 
 
Guangxi is rich in natural resources and home to dozens of ethnic minorities. But economic development has been relatively slow there compared with coastal regions in China. The high-speed railway system will help monetize Guangxi’s natural resources by bringing in more business opportunities and tourists.  In this sense, the line will not only benefit local people in terms of transportation but also help boost the local economy.

Passengers of recently opened Wuzhou-Nanning rail line describe new opportunities

Gerald Ollivier's picture

World Bank Sr. Infrastructure Specialist Gerald Ollivier interacts with passengers on the new Wuzhou-Nanning rail line
During a supervision mission in May, our team had the chance to hear from railway users about the many ways in which the new rail line between Wuzhou and Nanning is already having an impact on their lives. Compared to the relatively theoretical ways in which we often assess and talk about railway impact (think "agglomeration benefits" or "improved connectivity and accessibility"), I found this experience refreshing and gratifying. For many, the opening of a new railway line brings about a host of opportunities, whether it is new jobs, the possibility of meeting more clients or meeting existing clients more frequently, a chance to visit relatives located far away, or maybe even an opportunity to do a bit of tourism.

The first half of the NanGuang railway line opened in mid April 2014. It is one of the six railway projects currently supported by the World Bank in China. It connects the city of Wuzhou to Nanning, two cities located 240 km apart, in the relatively poor autonomous region of Guangxi.  The train, a brand new Electric Motorized Unit (see picture below), is clean and modern. It cuts across a highly mountainous terrain, zooming at about 200 kph through many tunnels and bridges.