China has unveiled a large railway network expansion plan to support urbanisation and boost local economies.

State-owned firm China State Railway Group has issued a new plan that aims to expand the network to around 200,000km by the end of 2035. The plan also aims to increase high-speed railway network to 70,000km.

China currently has around 141,400km of rail lines in the country, making it the second-largest rail network in the world. It includes 36,000km of high-speed rail lines.

According to Reuters’ calculations, the new goal will represent a 33.3% increase in China’s railway network while high-speed rail lines will see a growth of 133%.

The latest plan seeks to connect all cities with a population of more than 200,000 citizens to the national rail network, the news agency added.

The cities with a population that exceeds half a million people will also be connected to the high-speed network.

Specifically, China State Railway Group aims to focus on connecting remote and underdeveloped regions, as well as places with larger ethnic minority populations.

This comes after China has increased efforts to accelerate infrastructure projects to support its economy.

Last month, it was reported that China has started works to build the railway line that will connect Lhasa in Tibet and Nepalese capital Kathmandu.

The project is estimated to value nearly $300m and may be extended to the pilgrimage site of Lumbini, near the Indian border.