Sports field with goal posts and houses in the distance
The Mayor

Andy Burnham takes high-speed rail on trade mission to China


The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, is showcasing the city-region to a mass global market this week as he conducts a trade mission to the world’s most populous country, China.

Andy takes a look at the transport infrastructure during his visit to China

The visit (September 17-20) is tasked with establishing links between our city-region and cities across the rapidly-developing country, with China’s expanding economy the second-largest in the world.

On the first day of his visit the Mayor experienced the fastest passenger train in the world. His trip from Beijing to Tianjin took in a new 73 mile high-speed line that has reduced travel time between the two largest cities in Northern China from 70 to 30 minutes, showing how rail infrastructure can connect major cities’ economies. 

That is a quicker journey time than it takes a Greater Manchester passenger to travel from Wigan Wallgate to Manchester city centre (17 miles), or Bolton to Rochdale (11 miles).

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Experiencing train travel in China emphasised what is possible when ambitious technology, infrastructure investment and innovation is married with sensible regulation.

“Imagine travelling more than 70 miles on a super-fast service in exactly the same time it takes to catch a rattling Northern train just eight miles from Altrincham to Manchester. It re-enforced to me the scale of the challenge we face in Greater Manchester to improve the railways so that they work for everyone.

“Railway passengers in the North of England deserve a service every bit as clean, comfortable and reliable as those travelling in Northern China.”

The Mayor’s visits to a number of Chinese cities in what is the world’s most populous country is also targeted to aid the development Greater Manchester’s ambitious plans for delivering clean air, decarbonisation, and an end to single-use plastics.

The visit will lead to new partnerships and connections with key centres of the Chinese economy, enabling the city-region to benefit from collaborative working across industry, academia and public policy, as part of the Mayor’s openness to welcoming talent, investment and ideas to Greater Manchester from across the globe.

Andy added: “The future of a global world is one of cities working together across borders and seas and making the difference – centralised power is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

“Greater Manchester has long recognised the strategic importance of forging closer ties with China, given its general growth trajectory, rising appetite for investment in the West and synergies with key sectors we are trying to develop in our city-region.

“Stronger international city-to-city ties will not only allow us to share our experiences and best practices, but more importantly to work collaboratively across industry, academia and policy in shaping the solutions for tomorrow’s world.”

Since the establishment of Manchester-China Forum in 2013, the city-region has positioned itself as a leader in advancing its relationship with China. In recent years it has attracted £5bn of Chinese investment, established two new air routes to the country and is developing a broad range of long-term partnerships in areas as diverse as the manufacture of graphene to the economic and social importance of football.

Article Published: 14/12/2018 13:56 PM