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China's new 500 km/h high-speed train   (Source: China Daily)
It launched over the weekend and was created to resemble an ancient Chinese sword

Despite experiencing a number of issues earlier this year, China launched a new super-rapid test train this past weekend.

The new high-speed train can travel as fast as 500 km/h (about 310 mph), and was made by a subsidiary China's largest train provider CSR Corp Ltd. It launched over the weekend and was created to resemble an ancient Chinese sword.

"[It] will provide useful reference for current high-speed railway operations," said Shen Zhiyun, a train expert.

The train consists of six cars, and has a maximum tractive power of 22,800 kilowatts. According to Ding Sansan, CSR's chief technician, the train's bodywork consists of plastic materials "reinforced with carbon fiber."

China's $1T USD high-speed rail bid hopes to build 13,000 km (8,078 miles) of high-speed rail network by 2012, and about 20,000 km (12,427 miles) by 2020.

This new launch comes after a series of high-speed train-related troubles throughout 2011. In February, Liu Zhijun, former Railways Ministry chief, was accused of pocketing $122 million USD and terminated from his position from corruption charges. In July, a collision between two high-speed trains in Wenzhou killed at least 40 people and injured another 210.

Other issues with China's high-speed trains included the use of low-quality materials to build the tracks, which led to trains nearly derailing and the country having to drop the top speed of trains from 218 mph to 186 mph, and costly ticket prices for the use of high-speed trains. These problems led to slowed construction of the rail system, which worried some that the project could eventually lead to bank failures.

"In China, we will have a debt crisis -- a high-speed rail debt crisis," said Zhao Jian, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University, earlier this year. "I think it is more serious than your subprime mortgage crisis. You can always leave a house or use it. The rail system is there. It's a burden. You must operate the rail system, and when you operate it, the cost is very high."

Source: Reuters

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Negative article
By luhar49 on 12/26/2011 11:09:45 AM , Rating: 3
On a tech site one should be positive about efforts of any country to push the bounds of technology. Instead we have an article with too much negativity about China, sort of a common theme here. All countries have their problems..but atleast they are trying earnestly to improve their transport infrastructure.

RE: Negative article
By GuinnessKMF on 12/26/2011 11:14:50 AM , Rating: 5
As a NEWS site they shouldn't be shading technological efforts one way or another, one would hope that the readers here have the wherewithal to decide for themselves if it's positive or negative.

I feel safe in saying all readers here would like technology to advance, but most of us aren't dumb enough to think there aren't going to be costs and setbacks. Ignoring corruption instead of bringing it to light is a good way to make things even worse.

RE: Negative article
By IvanAndreevich on 12/27/2011 5:05:19 AM , Rating: 2
You call one of the largest malinvestments in recent history a positive? "Trying" is not good enough, buddy. A very large proportion of that trillion dollars has been blown into the thin air never to be recovered. Learn economics.

RE: Negative article
By 1prophet on 1/1/2012 4:17:00 AM , Rating: 2
You must be talking about the trillions of taxpayer dollars spent in Iraq.

RE: Negative article
By polishvendetta on 12/28/2011 9:51:48 AM , Rating: 2
On a privately owned website it really bothers me when people criticize the content of articles they choose to read.

The same goes for grammar.

RE: Negative article
By EricMartello on 12/28/2011 5:29:20 PM , Rating: 1
I like high-speed trains and I do think the US could benefit from this. Sure, it would require a large amount of money to lay down track that can handle trains moving 200 MPH or faster, but if the US government put down $1 Trillion for a well-planned HST that connects major cities or even regions (you know the places that are far enough apart that driving there sucks, but too close to justify flying), it would create REAL jobs for skilled labor - not just jobs that are created for the sake of making stats look better. That money, despite being taxpayer dollars, would be going right back to whoever is working on the project.

Even after the project is completed it would need to be maintained meticulously, so there's that benefit. Unfortunately, the tickets would need to be subsidized either by fed, state or both. I don't really see how an HST would be profitable any time soon, but it would improve the quality of life for travelers and it could reduce road traffic between the high population areas it services.

Another benefit of an HST is that it could allow for commuters to travel farther, faster and therefore ease population density. You know, you can live in Philly and work in NYC for instance, since the HST gets you there in an hour or less.

Governments at Work
By JAY963 on 12/26/2011 8:13:00 PM , Rating: 2
The Chinese government supports spending a trillion on high speed rail for the same reason governments everywhere support big money projects - so they can loot as much as they can get their hands on.

RE: Governments at Work
By YashBudini on 12/28/2011 8:11:03 PM , Rating: 2
Which is why I don't understand pointing out how terrible people welfare is while turning a blind eye to corporate welfare and b/s projects.

Anyone who would live up to the claim of being truly fiscally conservative must reduce both corporate and social spending. We we keep getting with the current 2 party dicatatorship is one is cut while the other increases, leading to no downward change in spending.

It is worth noting that being fiscally responsible seems to come from having a real sense of responsibility (ie integrity) than any party alliance. And yeah, good luck trying to find that these days.

looks like
By clhathat on 12/26/2011 12:00:01 PM , Rating: 3
was created to resemble an ancient Chinese sword

looks more like the angry bird that boomerangs

Looks Snazzy
By CalWorthing on 12/26/2011 10:53:28 PM , Rating: 2
As we've seen in past year from China, when their HS trains derail, damage is major. Track maintenance & systems monitoring must be constant and intense. In China, labor is 'pliable' and expendable, but must be relied upon to keep things PERFECT. As margins for error shrink, expertise is required. How much are we willing to pay for that ?

Our existing rail system, freight (the majority) and passenger, is antiquated in comparison to most of Europe. U.S. rail defers to freight, as they control the politics and the tracks. Passengers are last place, and the investment in same same is sad.

Buy a Eurail Pass & hop a flight to France. Ride the trains for week. Come home to Amtrak and see if you notice something missing.

Where's the USA at
By AMDftw on 12/26/11, Rating: -1
RE: Where's the USA at
By amanojaku on 12/26/2011 10:38:46 AM , Rating: 2
If you have $1T to pay for rail you should be spending it on the debt, or something else more important.

RE: Where's the USA at
By AlvinCool on 12/26/2011 10:45:27 AM , Rating: 2
If you have $1T to pay for rail you should be spending it on the debt, or something else more important.

I agree with that. How about three freight rail systems going from east to west coast carrying freight and trailers so 40ft trailers are no longer the norm. Saves major fuel and makes shipping more efficient helping setup an infrastructure for bringing back manufacturing to the US.

RE: Where's the USA at
By Chernobyl68 on 12/27/2011 2:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
20 and 40 foot containers are the international standard. Most modern STAA - trailers (Big Rigs) are 53' trailers. Intermodal freight (using containers) has been growing steadily over the years. Long haul trucking will be reduced eventually but won't dissapear, as intermodal isn't the most efficient or most direct for every customer and supplier.

RE: Where's the USA at
By Middleman on 12/26/2011 7:39:18 PM , Rating: 2
Weak Statement,

Investing in infrastructure creates money.

By moving goods and people faster along, you safe time.

Time = money.

Infrastructure in transporation promotes growth of cities and commercial centers.

North America should be investing heavily in high speed rail, coast to coast.

RE: Where's the USA at
By FaaR on 12/26/2011 8:01:06 PM , Rating: 1
Spending $1T on debt is just flushing $1T down the drain; it accomplishes nothing of any significance.

Spending that $1T on infrastructure however immediately creates $1T's worth of wages and materials; wages which will be translated into consumption, which will drive supply, and the materials bills will drive employment at suppliers of said materials, again giving rise to secondary effects in society.

Then you get added benefits from using that piece of infrastructure, wether it's a hydroelectric dam (those are bad for the environment, though), highways, railways, and so on.

Building infrastructure is one of the smartest things you can do with a government's money; even if that money is borrowed, because it directly boosts the economy, greatly, from top to bottom. Paying off debt stimulates sweet F-all.

RE: Where's the USA at
By GuinnessKMF on 12/28/2011 9:33:43 AM , Rating: 2
You know that we have to pay interest on that debt, right? That we're currently paying more than $400 billion a year just to keep the debt where it is. Paying the debt down is investing in future projects.

I agree that there is no point in paying the debt down until we can actually have a reasonable budget without a deficit.

RE: Where's the USA at
By AlvinCool on 12/26/11, Rating: 0
RE: Where's the USA at
By Shig on 12/26/2011 12:15:55 PM , Rating: 2
Here is one of the best plans available for US High Speed Rail -

Currently the only 'high speed rail' the US has is the Northeast Acela Express line. (Average speed ~ 68mph)

If rail is to succeed in the United States it needs to be tightly integrated with airports and air travel at the mega-regional level. Multi-state rail can't beat airline travel if they're competing against one another.

RE: Where's the USA at
By SPOOFE on 12/26/2011 3:42:30 PM , Rating: 2
The East coast would be a good candidate for HSR, what with the density of the megalopolis, but anyone that tries to get HSR going in California is either insane or a crook.

RE: Where's the USA at
By villageidiotintern on 12/26/2011 1:25:24 PM , Rating: 2
Are you making fun of me again? -Bubba

RE: Where's the USA at
By drycrust3 on 12/26/2011 3:48:21 PM , Rating: 2
And, unfortunately , neither would the train.

If we consider the "sword like appearance" as not just "purely ceremonial", and combine that with 22,800 kw of "not just sabre rattling" power, and the "flash of steel" 500 km/hr speed, then we can only hope the wisdom of heeding the proclamation regarding "the arrival of cutting edge technology" is greater to Bubba than his desire to "eagerly seek the future".

RE: Where's the USA at
By Skywalker123 on 12/26/2011 7:45:34 PM , Rating: 2
Hi speed train routes don't have crossings that cars can go around

RE: Where's the USA at
By Chernobyl68 on 12/27/2011 2:18:19 PM , Rating: 2
High speed trains don't have gated crossings - they're grade separated.

RE: Where's the USA at
By TSS on 12/26/2011 6:24:20 PM , Rating: 2

America’s fastest and most reliable line, the north-eastern corridor’s Acela, averages a sluggish 70 miles per hour between Washington and Boston. The French TGV from Paris to Lyon, by contrast, runs at an average speed of 140mph.

The entire article is an interesting read. It's comparable to what a dutch news program put out a few weeks ago about the bad state of american infrastructure.

The reason it's so bad is because you guys don't pay enough taxes. Yes i know, cut spending and all. But even with cutting spending, you still need more taxes. Because you already spent too much while paying too little taxes.

Any whining about "well then i have less money to spend" i'll counter with "well maybe you shouldn't spend all your money to begin with". When the infrastructure fails alltogether you'll have alot less money to spend on alot less stuff anyway.

RE: Where's the USA at
By spread on 12/27/2011 1:38:23 AM , Rating: 3
The reason it's so bad is because you guys don't pay enough taxes. Yes i know, cut spending and all. But even with cutting spending, you still need more taxes. Because you already spent too much while paying too little taxes.

The problem is most of the taxes go to feed the perpetual war machine. NASA? Need money for war. Transportation? Need money for war. Healthcare? Screw the American People, need money for war.

RE: Where's the USA at
By YashBudini on 12/28/2011 7:58:21 PM , Rating: 2
One of the dangers of automation and war is fewer troops will be killed, making war less distasteful to the general public. If you're told and accept that the government must spend 1/4 or more of its total budget on perpetual war in order to be safe and you see no death around you then you are more likely to accept the claim, even without proof.

This is not a scenario conducive to productivity or high quality of life. It is highly profitable to those who manufacture nothing other than war related equipment. Eisenhower warned us, but who's listening?

RE: Where's the USA at
By Chernobyl68 on 12/27/2011 3:54:55 PM , Rating: 2
When speaking of the NE corridor, the reason its so bad, is that it was laid out when the average speed of a locomotive was maybe 40 mph. Well, maybe not 40, but certainly slower and steam driven. 200mph running would have been unthinkable of back then.
I agree with you on the taxes though, the federal gas tax is 18 years stagnant, and our roads and bridges are falling apart because of it.

RE: Where's the USA at
By YashBudini on 12/28/2011 8:21:13 PM , Rating: 2
The French TGV from Paris to Lyon, by contrast, runs at an average speed of 140mph.

Is it possible that Americans are simply more used to a hectic life? That the French place more importance on the time spent sitting outside a coffee shop with a coffee and cigarette, so getting there quickly is more important?

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