Four-year project extends Beijing-to-Hong Kong line by 280km up to Shijiazhuang

Construction began yesterday on a high-speed rail link between Beijing and Shijiazhuang, capital of China's Hebei province.

The country's ministry of railways said that work was under way on the 280km route, which extends the Beijing-to-Hong Kong line and will cost an estimated 43.87bn yuan (£3.7bn).

The new link, which will have six stations, is expected to be up and running within four years.

The Chinese government has said it hopes to build 9,800km of new railway lines around the country as part of its five-year plan to 2010.

Other planned routes include a 28.7km rail line between Shijiazhuang and Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi Province.