Railway transport can be classified into two categories by applications, namely passenger transport and cargo transport. Passenger transport is to carry and provides services for travelers; cargo transport is to transport cargos including means of production and livelihood, etc. In terms of property right, Chinese railway now mainly includes such three forms as state-owned railway, jointly-owned railway and local railway, among which state-owned railway occupies the absolute superiority.
Railway transport owns the superiority of high transport capacity, long haul distance, low transport cost, assurance of transport usualness, good generic performance and low transport energy consumption, but possesses the shortage of poor flexibility, time consuming, high cargo damage rate and huge investment as well. Owing to the technical and economic features, railway transport is suitable for the long and medium-distance transport of bulk cargos with low value in interior regions, the transport of general cargos and special cargos in large volumes and with low reliability requirement, the mass and one-time high-efficient transport, the bulk transport (coal, metal, ore, cereals, etc.), and the transport of canned cargos (such as chemical products and petroleum products).
China boasts a large population and vast land, and Chinese railway becomes the tie of all regions and all departments by virtue of its characteristics of large transport capacity, long effective haul distance, strong continuity and large economies of scale.
Since the international financial crisis broke out, the Chinese government has taken railway construction as the emphasis of expanding domestic demand and promoting economic growth, further enhanced investment, and expanded construction scale, arousing a new tide of railway construction. In 2010, Chinese railway completed the investment in infrastructure construction of CNY 709.10 billion, a batch of key projects were completed and put into production, and national railway operating mileage reached 91,000 km.
According to the planning of the Chinese government, in 2011-2015, total production scale of national new railway lines will reach about 30,000 km. At the end of 2015, national railway operating mileage will increase from 91,000 km at the end of 2010 to about 120,000 km, among which mileage of express railway (with the speed of over 200 km/h) will be up to about 45,000 km, and that of railway in West China will reach about 50,000 km. Double-track rate and electrification rate will reach over 50% and 60% respectively. In 2011-2015, the Chinese government will arrange the investment in railway infrastructure construction of CNY 2.80 trillion. For Chinese railway equipment, infrastructure construction and other industries, there will be many investment opportunities in the next few years.