Construction could start this year on three railways in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, sources with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said yesterday.
The NDRC plans to invest 4.25 billion yuan ($591 million) in the three railways: the Lanxin, Nanjiang and Kuitun railways.
It has also been reported that work on the Jingyihuo Railway, the first electric railway in Xinjiang, has accelerated and should be complete by the end of this year, according to Chinanews.com.
Experts say developing Xinjiang's rail capacity will make it easier to exploit its massive stores of energy resources.
With estimated reserves of 20.8 billion tons of oil and 10.8 trillion cu m of gas, Xinjiang is seen as a strategic complement to Heilongjiang, China's top natural gas and oil producer this year.
The latest data from four major northwestern oil and gas bases revealed that Xinjiang had produced 26.4 million tons of crude oil and 21.2 billion cu m of gas last year, or 43.3 million tons of oil equivalent.
The latter figure represented a rise of 13.6 percent from 2006.
The plan to build more railroads in Xinjiang will also facilitate the growing trade between western China and central Asia and open up the southern passage of the new Euroasia continental bridge.
Currently the only railway linking Xinjiang with central Asia is a 460-km line between Urumqi and Alataw Pass, where it connects to Kazakhstan railways.
It has been reported that the construction of two railways linking Xinjiang with the central Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan is under way.
The 6.2-billion yuan railway linking Korgas on the China-Kazakhstan border with China's inland railways, is expected to be completed within this year.
It will extend westward to join the Sary-Ozek railway of Kazakhstan to become the second cross-border rail link between the two countries.
Meanwhile, preparatory work has begun on the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway, which starts from Kashi in Xinjiang and extends through Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan.
（英语点津 Celene 编辑）
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Brendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op’Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily’s Website opinion section.
He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.