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This is lower than the 690 billion yuan ($113 billion) that the country spent in 2013.

A total of 44 new projects will begin construction in 2014, compared with 47 projects kick-started in 2013, Sheng Guangzu, gm of China Railway Corp, said at a press conference on Thursday.

Some 6,600km worth of new lines are expected to be put into operation this year.

China will accelerate reforms of its railway investment and financing system. Central and Western China will be the focus of this round of railway construction, Sheng said.

The country also aims to widen its footprint in the overseas railway sector, particularly in Laos, Hungary, Serbia and Thailand.