National rail operator China Railway Corporation is planning to invest around CNY720bn ($116bn), up by CNY20bn ($3.23bn) announced in its original plan, to build new rail lines this year.

The investment, which forms part of the government’s strategy to boost economic growth, will be used in the construction of 48 new railway projects, up from 44.

China Railway Corporation general manager Sheng Guangzu was quoted by the official People’s Daily as saying: "By accelerating railway construction, [we] can increase the effective demand of steel, cement and other building materials, while absorbing overcapacity."

"The investment, which forms part of the government’s strategy to boost economic growth, will be used in the construction of 48 new railway projects."

According to Guangzu, railway investment reached CNY61bn ($9.88bn) in the first three months of this year, up 9% from the same time last year.

China also intends to increase the total length of railway lines being laid to more than 7,000km, up at least 25% from actual construction finished last year, added Guangzu.

China’s Cabinet said earlier this month that banks will partly lend to the rail projects, in a move intended to broaden financing channels.

Meanwhile, the government will create an annual rail development fund of CNY200bn ($32.2 bn) to CNY300bn to welcome participation from private investors.

It will also sell bonds that are valued at around CNY150bn ($24.3bn) to invest in the development of a new railway track spanning 6,600km.