BEIJING -- China has approved the construction of a $1 billion high-speed rail extension to connect Beijing with the venue for many of the skiing events for the 2022 Winter Olympics, officials said Saturday.
The Zhangjiakou city government said the 53-kilometre (33-mile) line from the Hebei province city of Zhangjiakou to the town of Chongli will be ready by 2019. China is already building an almost $9 billion high-speed line from Beijing to Zhangjiakou, located about 140 kilometres (87 miles) northwest of the capital.
Beijing will host the indoor events but lacks the tall mountains and snow fall for skiing events. Chongli will host the Nordic and other events, while Alpine skiing and sliding sports will be held at a third site in Yanqing, just northwest of the capital.
The cost of the rail connections has not been included in the games' approximately $3 billion operating budget because Chinese authorities have said they would be built anyway as part of a national high-speed network.
Beijing is the first city to be awarded both the summer and winter Olympics.