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Blogwatch

January 19, 2010
China commits massive funds to future high-speed rail

High-speed train travel is set to take over in China. New rail lines linking major cities are providing faster and faster routes for Chinese travelers.

China has committed almost $300 billion over the next decade to build the world’s most expansive network of high-speed trains, according to National Public Radio.

The world’s fastest train covers the the 664-mile Guangzhou-Wuhan trip in just three hours — at an average speed of 217 mph.

From Mark’s China Blog, critique and comments from China:

“This high-speed train development is great. Chinese trains are so crowded now. Adding high-speed trains onto the already running trains is going to make train travel much easier throughout the country. Such development will also decrease dependency on air travel.”

Critics argue that China is spending vast amounts of resources on public works projects accessible only to the wealthy, saying that money would be better spent increasing social services for the general public.

Recently, Hong Kong lawmakers agreed to connect the city to China’s high-speed rail system. The project was originally delayed over concerns that homes would be destroyed in rural areas.

View the map of current and planned high-speed rail in East Asia:

Wikimedia Commons’ map of Asia high-speed rail

In an op-ed Thomas Friedman quotes the New York Times Hong Kong bureau chief, Keith Bradsher:

“China has nearly finished the construction of a high-speed rail route from Beijing to Shanghai at a cost of $23.5 billion. Trains will cover the 700-mile route in just five hours, compared with 12 hours today. By comparison, Amtrak trains require at least 18 hours to travel a similar distance from New York to Chicago.”

There is currently only one high-speed rail line in the U.S. (in blue below) — the Northeast Corridor’s Acela express train from Boston to Washington, D.C.

In comparison to China, the U.S. has only committed $13 billion over the next five years for high-speed rail construction. There are ambitious plans for 11 different high-speed lines (in red below):

Map by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration

Ed Perkins, travel writer at Smarter Travel, compares European and U.S. rail travel:

“The United States forms committees and does studies; Europe and Asia build and operate. That’s been the recent picture for high-speed rail, and it continued through 2009. European railroads completed some important links in 2009, and several Asian countries are operating long stretches of 160-mph-plus systems.”

Yonah Freemark of The Transport Politic explains the recent expansion of the European high-speed rail system:

“Truly high-speed train travel, once confined to a few isolated corridors in France, Italy, and Germany, is rapidly expanding across Europe. With the opening [last month] of five new track segments to operations at more than 250 km/h (155 mph), the trend continues.”

View the map of high-speed rail lines in Europe:

Wikimedia Commons’ map of Europe high-speed rail

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Comments

6 comments

#6

China stole the technology for high speed rail from France and France is angry about it. Lets stop all this crying and whining about the rise and China and the fall of the US. The rise of China will in time be moderated
by economic forces. The sky is not falling.

#5

The Chinese Dictatorship is not different from the American or European Dictatorship.
I know because I developed my Groundbreaking new Transportation Technology in China because I believed that China needs desperately
a new approach to HSR.
So I developed the Airstream Train.
This is the Future of High Speed Rail.
It s faster then an Airplane and thus renders Airtravel as obsolete.
It is safer then any of those in this Article.
It is absolute 0 Emission, the only one.
It is Cheaper to build then any other.
And it is faster to build then any other.
It offers Infrastructure Improvements.

I dare anyone to prove me otherwise.

D. W. Major
Inventor
London UK

#4

To #2:
it shows your ignorance about China, thinking that the government can “order” people to work where & what. The railway workers got better pay and they left my factory.

#3

Here is one more sign of how the US empire is collapsing. As Europe and Asia develop alternative energy and sound infrastructure the US prefers to sink all the public’s money into the financial sector, the oil industry and the military.. Europe is weaning itself off oil and the US is fighting wars on all fronts for the control of the oil that remains rather than building an alternative non oil-based infrastructure.

#2

China has been building a high speed rail system for years, and since the down turn in the USA, China has millions of workers who have lost their jobs now are building the railroads. Unlike the USA who have workers collecting goverment welfare, China can take similar skilled people and put them work with pick and shovel. The saying is “if you want to eat, you work”!
That is China were the government does have a say on who works where, and what they do.

#1

China has high speed trains and we in the U.S.don’t yet.It doesn’t make any sense.It would make sense to have super speed trains in the U.S.because it’s so vast and hopefully if we ever get them it will be cheaper than what we pay for plane tickets these days.I might be wrong but the only speed train service we have is the Acela express which departs from Boston and arrives at the Penn station in NY and then it shoots off to D.C.from NY and arrives there in approximately 3hrs.The Airlines industry won’t be complaining about high fuel prices and traveling businessmen/women as well as the general public can save money at the same time,the govt won’t have to invade countries for oil and maybe we might finally be able to deal with the threat of terrorism..Problem solved..

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