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Train makers hope to be on track for big US rail plan
By Liu Yiyu and Xin Dingding
Published: Feb 10 2011 9:16
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BEIJING — The country's two major train manufacturers hope to get on track for potential business opportunities following the $53 billion high-speed rail investment plan unveiled by the Obama administration on Tuesday.

The plan, announced by US Vice-President Joe Biden in Philadelphia, will roll out 3,200 km of new rail networks and aims to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years. Biden called on Congress to back the six-year investment in high-speed intercity rail.

China's largest train manufacturer, CSR Corp, welcomed the investment plan, a source with the company, who refused to be identified, told China Daily on Wednesday.

"CSR is interested in bidding to supply high-speed trains to the US," the source said.

CSR signed an agreement with General Electric (GE) in December 2010 to establish a 50-50 joint venture to manufacture high-speed trains in the US using China's technology, and to jointly explore the US high-speed rail market.

When President Hu Jintao visited the United States in January, CSR signed letters of intent for ventures with GE. The deals could bring in $1.4 billion and create 2,000 jobs in the US, and include an order for 500 exported locomotive kits and related services valued at $350 million, GE Transportation Chief Executive Officer Lorenzo Simonelli said on Jan 19.

China's second-largest train maker, CNR Corp, is "also interested in the US high-speed rail project", Xie Jilong, board secretary, said.

The spokesman for China Railway Construction Corp, one of China's largest heavy construction firms, was not available for comment on Wednesday. But a report by CBS in January said a delegation from the company had shown interest in building high-speed railways in California and took a helicopter tour of the area where construction is slated to begin.

French, Japanese and South Korean companies have also shown interest in the US high-speed railway plan.

The source with CSR, which produced the CRH380A train that set a world record of 486.1 km/h during a trial run on Dec 3, said he believed China's high-speed rail technology leads the world, though the country is a newcomer to the industry.

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