Chinese business magazine Caixin on the multitude of problems that are currently besetting state-owned China Railways, operator of the world’s largest rail system, which is facing an identity crisis mainly prompted by a growing debt mountain created by its huge infrastructure investment programme but exacerbated by falling freight traffic. Cargo revenues declined 10% in 2015, and by a further 12% in the first nine months of 2016, and with demand for coal across the country continuing to decline, there is little prospect of its fortunes being reversed, the growth of China-Europe container rail services notwithstanding. “CRC has emerged from its former status as a government entity to become a slow-moving behemoth saddled by trillions of yuan in debt, with little prospects of repaying that money anytime soon.”

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