CHINA'S Guangzhou-Shenzhen (Guangshen) Railway has assured underwriters that it has secured State Council approval for autonomy in ticket pricing. The soon-to-be-listed H share told the investment bankers in Shenzhen on Monday that the new policy would be effective from April 1 and that this would be stipulated in the listing prospectus. The approval will herald China's moves to liberalise railway price controls and ease foreign investor concern that the firm is shackled by state planning. It is the first company to get pricing autonomy for both passengers and freight. Guangshen will point out in its prospectus that there is a risk stemming from the fact that the new pricing mechanism has not been tested before. The company is seeking to list on the stock exchanges of Hong Kong and New York next month after an international roadshow. Guangshen, which runs the railway from Guangzhou to Shenzhen, has enjoyed preferential pricing since 1986, allowing it to charge 50 per cent more for its tickets than those fixed elsewhere by the state. The policy has become a restriction for the company because it lacks flexibility to adjust ticket prices in accordance with demand. Some customers have switched to other transport because of the high ticket prices on the Guangshen line, an analyst said. Guangshen plans to replace its slow regular trains with high-speed services.