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:
“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):