• Kyodo

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Three consortia involving Chinese, Japanese, French and Canadian firms have won contracts worth a combined 1.34 trillion yen to introduce high-speed trains to existing Chinese tracks, the Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday.

The Chinese Railway Ministry’s project is intended to raise the speed of trains to 200 kph on five major existing railway lines, stretching over 2,000 km, starting next year.

One consortium consists of Chinese train manufacturer Nanche Sifang Locomotive Co., based in Shandong Province, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Itochu Corp., Mitsubishi Corp. and Marubeni Corp.

The six Japanese firms are expected to offer a modified version of East Japan Railway Co.’s Hayate Shinkansen bullet train. The tender had been closely watched because it may have an impact on the hotly contested 1,300-km railway project linking Beijing and Shanghai. Japan, France and Germany are all vying for that lucrative contract.

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