Construction of a new railway station in Hangzhou began over the weekend, the Ministry of Railways said in a news release yesterday.
The new station, Hangzhou East, which is due to be completed by the end of 2012, is being built at a cost of 12 billion yuan ($1.75 billion), 5 million yuan more than what it took to build Asia's biggest Beijing South railway station, the release said.
But despite costing more, the Hangzhou East railway station will still be smaller in size than Beijing South, an official said.
"The new railway station covers an area of 301,158 sq m, slightly smaller than Beijing South at 322,000 sq m. But the new station will have 28 platforms as compared to Beijing South's 24," an official surnamed Wu, who is involved with the new project, said.
The number of platforms or floor space is not a factor in judging the size of a railway station, Zhao Jian, a railway expert and professor with Beijing Jiaotong University, said.
"A railway station mainly handling regional railway transport cannot possibly become the largest in the country, since the number of passengers handled will be limited," he said.
On completion, three high-speed intercity railways linking Hangzhou with Shanghai, Nanjing and Ningbo, as well as the planned Shanghai-Hangzhou maglev train, will stop by the station.
The ministry will contribute 60 percent of the total cost of construction, while the rest will be covered by the Hangzhou government and Zhejiang provincial government, he said.
The Hangzhou East railway station is one of seven new railway projects that started construction over the weekend with a total cost of 100 billion yuan, the release said.
Among them, two intercity rail projects, linking Hangzhou, will be completed at the same time as the Hangzhou East railway station, it said.
The 249-km Hangzhou-Nanjing railway will cost 31.38 billion yuan, with trains running at 350 kph. The 150-km Hangzhou-Ningbo railway, which costs 21.39 billion yuan, will have trains running at 250 kph and will transport about 80 million people every year.
Source: China Daily