The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors had approved loans totaling $500 million to China to assist a railway project and an urban environment improvement program, WB said on Thursday.

Of the total, $300 million is to assist the construction of the Nanning-Guangzhou Railway Project and $200 million to support Shanghai Urban Environment Project.

The Nanning-Guangzhou Railway Project aims to provide additional transport capacity and reduce transport time between China’s less developed southwest region and the relatively more developed Pearl River Delta region.

The railway that connects Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, with Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, will be able to cut the trip between the two cities from the current 12 hours to three hours.

The loan for the project will be specifically used for a 400-km section of the double-track electric rail line from Litang, Guangxi, to Zhaoqing, Guangdong, and a 62-km four-track rail line near Guangzhou, WB said in its press release.

The remaining US$200 million goes to a Shanghai urban environment project, or the third phase of the WB's Adaptable Program Loan (APL) for Shanghai urban environment improvement, which began in 2003.

The project will focus on increasing secure supplies of good quality water, reducing pollution discharged into water sources without treatment, and facilitating sustainable investment in environmental infrastructure in Shanghai suburbs.

In the first two phases, the WB invested in several key infrastructure projects in Shanghai and helped promote institutional and policy reforms in the sectors of water supply, sewage treatment and solid waste disposal.

The maturity of the loans is 25 years, with five years' of grace period, according to the document of WB.