China's railways received 823.8 billion yuan ($125.1 billion) in investments in 2015, slightly higher than in 2014 but well above the annual target of 800 billion yuan, the country's national railway operator said on Sunday.
In 2015, 9,531 kilometers in new lines were put into operation, including 330.6 kilometers for high-speed railways, China Railway, previously part of the now defunct Ministry of Railways, said at a press conference on Sunday, according to news portal news.china.com.cn.
So far, China operates 121,000 kilometers of railways, just behind the US. But China's high-speed railways in operation reached 19,000 kilometers, the most in the world, according to China Railway.
During the 12th five-year period (2011-15), fixed-asset railway investments reached 3.58 trillion yuan and 30,500 kilometers of new lines were put into use, chnrailway.com reported Friday.
"Railway investments are expected to remain high in the next few years, given the huge demand generated by the government's move to develop China's west," Wang Mengshu, a railway expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told the Global Times Sunday, adding that railway investments are crucial to China's economic growth.
China also hopes to improve its transportation network with nearby countries under the Belt and Road Initiative, which will also generate demand for railway investments, according to Wang.
China Railway also said that China is eyeing some "breakthroughs" in promoting its high-speed railway technology overseas, and the planned Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway in Indonesia, using Chinese technology, is expected to begin construction on January 21.
In the 13th five-year (2016-20) period, fixed-asset investments in China's railways will hover between 3.5 trillion yuan to 3.8 trillion yuan, according to chnrailway.com.
In 2015, 2.5 billion trips were taken by passengers in China, a 10-percent annual increase for three consecutive years, according to China Railway.