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China Exports High-Speed Rail Technology to Turkey
nytimes.com | Article Link | by Amy Qin
After having built the world’s most extensive high-speed rail network, China is now beginning to export its rail technology, starting with last week’s inauguration of a high-speed railway in Turkey that links the capital of Ankara to Istanbul, the country’s largest city.
The completion of the railway project marks the first time that China has helped build a high-speed railway outside its borders, according to the state-run People’s Daily. Trains on the 330-mile railway line will run at speeds as high as 155 miles per hour, covering the distance between the two cities in three and a half hours, significantly less than the six or more hours by bus or car.
The China Railway Construction Corporation and the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation won the bid in 2005 to build the railway line in partnership with two Turkish companies, Cengiz Construction and Ibrahim Cecen Ictas Construction, People’s Daily said.
The project was financed in part by a $750 million loan granted to Turkey by China, said Gong Xiaosheng, China’s former ambassador to Turkey, according to People’s Daily. Of that sum, $500 million was in the form of loans on favorable terms, which Mr. Gong said showed China’s dedication to exporting its high-speed rail technology.
While China is hailing the completion of the rail line as a milestone in Chinese-Turkish relations, both countries have admitted to difficulties during the process. The project has reportedly been beset with problems such as delays and accidents.
“Turkey lacks railway construction know-how, so many changes had to be made to the route design during the construction process, which was a serious challenge for us,” Liu Zhiyi, China Railway Construction Corporation’s project manager in Turkey, told People’s Daily, adding that China had been tasked with building the most complex sections of the route.