The mainland has launched a 15 billion yuan (about HK$14 billion) project to upgrade a 945-kilometre stretch of electric railway line with the use of German loans. The project, to be completed in 2001, would enable trains on the line between the cities of Harbin and Dalian in the northeastern Heilongjiang and Liaoning provinces to travel at speeds up to 200 km/h, Xinhua reported. The project should help ease traffic in the region and promote Sino-Russian border trade. Renovation of the line, which was built a century ago, involves 360 million deutschemarks (about HK$1.45 billion) in loans from the German Government and banks, as well as German equipment and technology. While launching the project, mainland railway officials said the new line would also enhance the northeast's links to other parts of the country. The line will have the highest technology and most investment of any in the mainland.