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China unveiled the world's fastest train (in average speed) last week.  (Source: Xinhua)

China plans to spend $1T USD to blanket its country with 16,000 miles of high speed rail, forming a unique state of the art transportation network. U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged a mere 2 percent of that sum ($13B USD) to our nation's own high speed rail efforts.  (Source: The Transport Politic)
China's $1T USD high speed rail gambit leaps ahead

High speed rail is right up there with electric vehicles when it comes to promising green solutions to transportation in the new millennium.  High speed rail uses electricity and mass-transit to drastically cut emissions when compared to automobile travel.  And it's expected to be far faster and more cost effective transportation method, albeit with some big up front costs for infrastructure.  Much as the original coal-burning locomotive and oil-burning automobile revolutionized transportation in the 19th and 20th centuries, the electric locomotive looks to transform society in the 21st century.

The U.S. under President Barack Obama has committed $13B USD in high speed rail investment.  That seems somewhat impressive until one hears about China's high speed rail commitment.  China
has already spent $259B USD on high speed rail and plans on spending a total of $1T USD by 2020 to install 16,000 miles of high speed rail track -- or roughly 1/3 of the length of the U.S.'s total interstate highway system.  

China put the exclamation point on its efforts last week with the unveiling of its flagship high speed rail model, the 380A train.  With a 236 miles per hour top cruising speed, the train is the world's fastest.

A handful of maglev trains can beat the 380A in top speed, but they are unable to sustain a faster average speed.  The "380" part of its name comes from its 236 mph cruising speed which translates into 380 kilometers per hour.  The train will offer a 4 hour ride between Shanghai and Beijing.  That cuts the trip time to less than a third of the driving time (12 to 13 hours).

A Chinese firm, Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., makes the impressive vehicles.  The first production model, the "He Xie", was unveiled last week at a ceremony in Changchun, the capital of the northeastern province of Jilin in China.  At the ceremony, the Chinese government pledged to purchase 100 of the speedy trains.

High speed rail will provide the Chinese economy with a unique advantage as it continues to grow and expand.  Business travelers will be able to make trips much faster and regain literally weeks in productivity each year.  And carbon emissions, long a sore spot for China, will be cut in a way that's
actually beneficial for the economy.

Meanwhile, the U.S. sees its own plans for high speed rail stalled as it ponders potentially less effective solutions for carbon control like "carbon-credits".  The 380A and China's high speed rail ambitions have led some to question if the U.S. will be left behind as the rest of the world embraces high speed rail.

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Left in the Dust
By Gio6518 on 6/7/2010 7:23:19 AM , Rating: 5
of course were being left in the dust, we send all of our money and technological know how there......

RE: Left in the Dust
By Hiawa23 on 6/7/10, Rating: -1
RE: Left in the Dust
By quiksilvr on 6/7/2010 9:10:38 AM , Rating: 1
The problem is that we have too many neutral/enemy nations and became paranoid. As a result, we spent trillions of dollars on our military.

Furthermore, we have little self sufficiency and too much greed and became too woefully dependent on other countries' workforces and products (China, India, Mexico, etc.)

I'm all for sharing the economy globally, but our fate is in the hands of an immoral, dictatorial country. What makes it worse, there is nothing we can do about it. We are in too deep.

RE: Left in the Dust
By FishTankX on 6/7/2010 9:27:16 AM , Rating: 1
This is an old, old hat argument. We spend no more than 6% of our GDP on the military. It's roughly 0.8T. It's roughly equivalent to either health care or pension, and not even double welfare.

This isn't counting any of the revenue made from selling defense tech to other nations, either.

That being said, if we rerouted half of the military funds towards education, I think we'd be in much, much better shape. And might eventually get the money back through increased economic productivity, and by extension, tax revenue, which could be put back into the military if need be at a future date.

RE: Left in the Dust
By quiksilvr on 6/7/2010 10:16:54 AM , Rating: 2
Notice I said spent. I was simply stating how we got to where we are now.

RE: Left in the Dust
By gamerk2 on 6/7/10, Rating: 0
RE: Left in the Dust
By sebmel on 6/7/2010 7:17:05 PM , Rating: 5
As for the comment about sending US tech to China: this isn't US tech.

Most of the development has been done in the UK, Germany, Japan and now in China.

RE: Left in the Dust
By Redwin on 6/7/10, Rating: -1
RE: Left in the Dust
By Solandri on 6/7/2010 3:55:54 PM , Rating: 5
Where the heck are you folks getting your numbers? The U.S. spends a little over 4% of its GDP on the military, vs. a world average of about 2.5%-3.0% (the range I've seen it fluctuate since I've been watching it for the last 15 years). We hit a low of 3.04% during Clinton's term, which was only slightly above the world average at the time (2.9% if I remember right).

If you bear in mind that we are contractually bound by our peace treaty with Japan to provide for their defense, as well as the presence we maintain in Europe as a member of NATO (though I would agree that its reason for existing anymore is questionable), I'm not surprised we spend a bit more than the world average. You'll also find that we spend a lot more per soldier than any other country - we would rather spend a lot more money to keep our soldiers safe, than to suffer large casualties in a conflict.

The last time we spent 6% was in the '80s, during the Reagan years and the Cold War.

We spend 60% of every dollar the government takes in on the military

Military spending is about 50%-60% of discretionary spending. That's another stat that gets tossed around by people who are usually pro-social programs and anti-military. They obfuscate the distinction between discretionary and mandatory. Discretionary just means it needs to be approved again every year, while mandatory spending has gotten a multi-year or perpetual approval. Ignoring one of the two is failing to look at the entirety of the budget.

For FY2009, military spending is about 23% of the total budget. Social security about 20%, Medicare/Medicaid about 19%, and other mandatory spending (mostly social programs) is about 17%. (Note that Social security used to be the biggest single item, but its cost has been going down as the government has started to address its costs ballooning.) Historically, the percentage of the budget becoming mandatory spending has been increasing because the cost of social programs has been ballooning.

This accounting trick of looking only at discretionary spending also allows politicians to make sound bytes about their budget cutting prowess, where take credit for decreasing discretionary spending, while claiming no responsibility for mandatory spending increasing because "it's mandatory, I can't do anything about it."

Bottom line is, U.S. military spending is close to the lowest it's been since World War 2 ended. Could it go lower? Sure. But so could a lot of the social programs. Their spending has been going up far in excess of the money saved by military spending going down. If projections for Medicare/Medicaid are right, the increase in its costs in 20-30 years it will have consumed all the money you could save by eliminating military spending entirely.

RE: Left in the Dust
By Solandri on 6/7/2010 5:24:26 PM , Rating: 2
The board somehow combined my first two links so the link that says actually directs to the wikipedia entry. Here's the correct link to the graph of U.S. military expenditure as a % of GDP since 1940:

You can see it hit 3.0% during Clinton's last year. After 2001, it began ramping up to cover costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, to 4.3% in 2009.

RE: Left in the Dust
By raf11 on 6/7/2010 7:18:49 PM , Rating: 2
I have yet to research the links you posted, but it is more than refreshing to see a post in a discussion of this type that actually revolves around the underlying facts, and not partisan/ideological mud slinging. All while remaining respectful. Well done.

RE: Left in the Dust
By hashish2020 on 6/7/10, Rating: 0
RE: Left in the Dust
By monkeyman1140 on 6/7/2010 11:58:21 PM , Rating: 3
Here we go again with the "world is defenseless without us" argument.

Japan has quite a considerable military, and lets not forget its JAPAN. They're not the peaceniks you think they are. If they get attacked it will be the Rape of Nankang II: The Return.

We simply have forgotten what its like to not fight a cold war, so we are terrified to reduce our military presence worldwide, even thought nobody else has bases everywhere.

RE: Left in the Dust
By Chaser on 6/7/2010 10:34:55 AM , Rating: 2
The military budget doesn't come close to the amount of money that is paid into education if you add the total spent by local, state, and federal governments. The United States does not have a money issue with education. Its a people issue. Student, parents etc.

First step towards education and budget reform: eliminate the Federal Dept of Education and route all that money to the states. Its absolutely ridiculous to take money from Joe in Fl. send it to a federal department of education and then back to another city in Florida. Too many hands. Too many wasteful federal positions that are nothing more than do gooder, photo op, staffs and salaries. Good grief.

After that eliminate the Dept of Energy. And the Dept of Agiculture.

RE: Left in the Dust
By juserbogus on 6/7/2010 2:14:10 PM , Rating: 2
you are so wrong.
do you have any links that support your statement?

RE: Left in the Dust
By knutjb on 6/9/2010 4:47:06 PM , Rating: 2

I have looked up his data and its from the government. Simply spending on education has more than doubled without improvement.

We here educators whining about no money and teachers will go if you don't give us more money. Sounds like a threat to me from the unions give us them or your kids will be stupid, well teachers haven't helped and the scores show it.

You never hear talk of reducing a few administrators that equals anywhere from 3 to 8 teachers (depending on location) when you consider all costs involved with that administrator. And don't even question a teachers ability or dare think about testing them annually to make sure they maintain their ability to teach.

You might want to rethink since you are so wrong...

RE: Left in the Dust
By StraightCashHomey on 6/7/10, Rating: 0
RE: Left in the Dust
By Romion on 6/8/2010 8:40:35 AM , Rating: 3
And how do u know what percent of GDP go to military?
U know this because they said so?
Im not even an american citizen :))))

RE: Left in the Dust
By lagitup on 6/12/2010 7:15:38 PM , Rating: 2
That being said, if we rerouted half of the military funds towards education, I think we'd be in much, much better shape

I agree, Time ran an article about a study that showed paying students dollars for grades, behavior, and attendance was equivalent to adding 2 months on to the school year in terms of standardized test scores.

And might eventually get the money back through increased economic productivity

That's the problem though. We're not educating cogs of the economy, we're educating people for life. This cogs philosophy which an unfortunate number of people seem to have would make Marx and the like roll in their graves...

RE: Left in the Dust
By callmeroy on 6/7/2010 10:35:00 AM , Rating: 4
WTF does "infasis" mean? You mean emphasis?


Anyway...In many ways China already does own the US, if you have any friends who work on Wall Street or at least in the stock market / securities field ask them what I mean by that and I'm sure they'll confirm it.

I don't want to sound like the party pooper here, but we are already on a course downward in the USA. We are in such much trouble on a financial front, jobs, technology, education....we are approaching "only a miracle (divine intervention)" will prevent us from declining beneath other nations -- primarily China.

Financially not much should have to be said...we all know by now the grim nature of that outlook (for the World not just the US btw)...but our kids...especially speaking to our teens thru young 20'somethings...they are not only showing progressively weaker average test scores especially in math and sciences but and here's the really scary thing IMO --- they are showing LESS interest/intiative to do better that past generations of high school graduates or college students.

Like any nation...our young people is what our country banks on for the future.

Work ethics are decreasing, our younger population are less and less interested in fields like science or medicine.

In essence the current generation coming up now is almost certainly going to achieve LESS and earn LESS than the previous generation....and that's not progress...that's not how its "supposed" to be...that should concern folks...but alas that's the final worry --- complacency. Just observe people some times today...folks are more and more "ok" with mediocrity than I've ever noticed before.

RE: Left in the Dust
By callmeroy on 6/7/2010 10:37:47 AM , Rating: 1
Oh the irony...I write a post partially on educational standards declining and its riddled with grammatical errors, typos and spelling mistakes....

So I figured I'd head the mobs off by pointing this out first before 7438 comments do the same!

RE: Left in the Dust
By Hiawa23 on 6/7/2010 11:09:37 AM , Rating: 1
WTF does "infasis" mean? You mean emphasis?

come on, I meant emphasis, but did not spell check, it happens. I think you knew what I trying to say. So petty on these messgae boards. No one is perfect...

RE: Left in the Dust
By callmeroy on 6/7/2010 11:59:52 AM , Rating: 2
I was being sarcastic dude was a meant as a joke!

RE: Left in the Dust
By Hiawa23 on 6/7/2010 1:28:59 PM , Rating: 5
In essence the current generation coming up now is almost certainly going to achieve LESS and earn LESS than the previous generation....and that's not progress...that's not how its "supposed" to be...that should concern folks...but alas that's the final worry --- complacency. Just observe people some times today...folks are more and more "ok" with mediocrity than I've ever noticed before.

I agree, it worries me when you look anywhere in America, especially in many poor neigborhoods where our youth are just content with being mediocre, or average, instead of striving to do better. It's really scary when you look around. I was thinking the same thing the other day. I could be wrong here but it seems that many Americans are fine going through their lives being average & not striving to improve their lives & just accept whatever happens.

Look at HS dropout rates especially in the poorer communities which is probably about 50%, when you would think it would be the opposite. If you are poor or rich, the best way to lift yourself up is through improving your education or through learning some sort of trade.

I am an African American, College graduate back in 1997, still owe $10k on my student loan, but I am really scared for our community at the mentality of many of our young people.

It's like many of therm have no hope, or have these false hopes of only becoming Lebron James, or Emmit Smith, or 50Cent, & that's all they strive to be, not seeing what they really need to do is improve their grades & strive to be better in school.

I don't know what the answer is. I have a 13year old daughter. I can't really worry about others kids. I strive to teach her, & put a strong emphasis on education for her to become a productive member of society, that's all I can do as a parent. I hope I am wrong but the way we are going the America we know today or yesterday will look much different in some years & our standing in the world might change as a result of this mentaility many share, & it started long before we ever heard Barack Obama.

RE: Left in the Dust
By YashBudini on 6/8/10, Rating: -1
RE: Left in the Dust
By RequiemsAllure on 6/8/2010 10:34:33 AM , Rating: 2
maybe there is a way to cut the expense of higher education?
i bring this up for discussion because I am curious.

on this note i theorize that this dispair you talk of also ensues due to high education costs and no way to pay for it. In a world where a piece of paper is more important than realworld experiance and training/self-study i cannot understand how we can/will-be-able to continue to operate effectively.

RE: Left in the Dust
By monkeyman1140 on 6/13/2010 6:13:58 PM , Rating: 2
Ironically in the military, they have an education program for soldiers.

I guess the "cut education" argument is stupid.

RE: Left in the Dust
By retrospooty on 6/7/2010 7:56:45 PM , Rating: 1
We dont have the worlds fastest train because we don't want it and dont care.

Left in the dust? pfapf...

RE: Left in the Dust
By mcnabney on 6/7/2010 9:49:33 PM , Rating: 1
infasis on higher ed

I think I found part of the problem...

RE: Left in the Dust
By jconan on 6/11/2010 11:01:59 PM , Rating: 1
that's easy, in country where citizens have no true democratic rights eg (forced eminent domain) and the ruling party can plan long range policies in increments of 5 to 10 + years without opposing political views or challenges from other parties... Then again that same statement could be said for parts or most of Africa but then again the dictators are all about themselves not for the well being of their country or people. Try doing that in any other true democratic country, you won't get far as there will be constant political bickering and change of plans. India has better public policies than China but their politics can't seem to agree. How long did it take to pass a health care reform package in the US (there's still quite a bit of dissent over it)? How about disagreements in California among parties that took months and months to pass a single budget?

RE: Left in the Dust
By TheHarvester on 6/7/2010 9:56:58 AM , Rating: 4
While China is investing an impressive amount in its infrastructure, especially compared to the US, it's hardly an apples to apples comparison in terms of staying competitive and having it make economic sense. It's great to be updating our infrastructure and we certainly want to stay competitive, but they have the advantage of being relative latecomers in the game, and their investments are greenfield in that there's nothing already there, so they can build the newest stuff because they have to (or at least it makes sense to). We've already got tracks all over the place and ripping that out and replacing those corridors with new track is far more expensive and the added advantage in a lot of cases, boosts of tens of miles an hour in speed and some "greenness," is hard to argue makes economic sense.

I'd be willing to bet the US has over the last 150 years invested significantly more than 300 billion dollars (calculated for inflation). That being said, I'm all for installing the latest and best track where it makes economic sense.

RE: Left in the Dust
By WoWCow on 6/7/2010 12:48:58 PM , Rating: 3
Well, I appreciate the fact you brought up the past... but this picture sums up the modern America (depressingly, ironically, and very much sadly).

RE: Left in the Dust
By Ammohunt on 6/7/2010 2:08:28 PM , Rating: 2
I was thinking hte same thing. So they have the fastest high speed train in the world..Europe has the best Train transportation system in the world and it operates at a loss and is propped up with Government subsidies not unlike AmTrak. France had the Concorde...

RE: Left in the Dust
By JediJeb on 6/8/2010 2:32:44 PM , Rating: 3
Plus in China they don't have to worry about years of Environmental Impact Studies and other red tape that would make it cost 10x as much if built here in the US. We could have it half built and someone would discover it would kill some rare cockroach because it interfered with their breeding grounds. Then the whole thing would be canceled or twice as much would need to be spent to make a tunnel for the cockroaches.

If we build it, who will ride it? That is another question to be asked when thinking of building a similar system in the US. Also where would we need one? Of course you would not use something like this as a intra or inter city commuter system on the east coast, because then you would need to build it right through all the heavily populated areas and that would be a nightmare. Coast to coast would work, right through the middle of the country, but then people traveling from New York to LA would rather take a plane because it is faster and most likely cheaper unless it is heavily subsidized. And if that is where it went how would you protect 3000 miles of high speed rail track from damage by terrorists or animals when we can't even secure half that much distance of our borders?

As much as I like the idea, I really don't see it being practical in the US any time soon.

RE: Left in the Dust
By Mitch101 on 6/7/2010 10:53:49 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is we would build them here for an astronomical price. To solve this we give China the tech and they build it then a few weeks later we can buy the knockoff's on for pennies on the dollar. BTW they always have free shipping.

RE: Left in the Dust
By karndog on 6/7/2010 12:13:37 PM , Rating: 2

of course were being left in the dust, we send all of our money and technological know how there......

You mean "we send them all of our money and they send us spies that steal all of our technological know how"

RE: Left in the Dust
By xmichaelx on 6/8/2010 3:45:17 PM , Rating: 2
At many U.S. universities, Chinese students pay in-state tuition, so they actually pay less than some Americans for American higher education.

They don't need to steal our technological know-how -- we give it to them happily.

RE: Left in the Dust
By monkeyman1140 on 6/7/2010 11:55:08 PM , Rating: 2
All we gotta do is just buy an off-the-shelf solution from Germany.

That's not a Chinese train.
By HyperMiler on 6/7/2010 9:38:41 AM , Rating: 4
That particular train is a knock off version of Siemens Velaro.

CNR previously produced 50 sets of Velaros under license from Siemens, with some core parts sourced from Siemens. After gaining experience, CNR replaced those Siemens sourced parts with its own replica parts and now are calling it an "indigenous train" since no original German part is used. Then Chinese claims a faster top speed through speeding; Velaro can actually run at 400 km/h but Siemens capped the top service speed at 350 km/h as a safety margin; Chinese are utilizing this built in safety margin in Velaro to speed 380A at 380 km/h to claim the world's fastest service speed, which Siemens would never do.

China at the moment does not have an ability to design a high speed train model from scratch, nor could Chinese(and shockingly Japanese Shinkansen) high-speed trains enter the US market due to crashworthiness issues.

So you will not see those Chinese bullet trains running in the US; only European-regulation compliant train models are permitted by FRA on the US railways.

RE: That's not a Chinese train.
By HyperMiler on 6/7/2010 9:49:35 AM , Rating: 3
List of high speed trains that could operate in the US.

- Siemens Velaro
- Alstom TGV
- Alstom AGV
- Bombardier Zafiro
- Rotem KTX-2
- Rotem HEMU-400X
- Kawasaki efSET

List of high speed trains illegal in the US

- Shinkansen(Kawasaki efSET follows Euro-regulation and is not considered a Shinkansen model)
- Chinese CRH series

By roadhog1974 on 6/7/2010 6:47:49 PM , Rating: 2
first time I read that I didn't see "could"
and thought awesome.

then I re-read it.

RE: That's not a Chinese train.
By bernardl on 6/7/2010 9:55:19 AM , Rating: 2
China at the moment does not have an ability to design a high speed train model from scratch, nor could Chinese(and shockingly Japanese Shinkansen) high-speed trains enter the US market due to crashworthiness issues.

Rigth... a train that has been running every 2 minutes between 6AM and midnight every single day for more than 40 years without a single casuality doesn't meet safety criterias... That says more about the criterias than about the safety of the train. :)


By HyperMiler on 6/7/2010 10:19:54 AM , Rating: 4
Rigth... a train that has been running every 2 minutes between 6AM and midnight every single day for more than 40 years without a single casuality doesn't meet safety criterias...

Shinkansen requires its own dedicated track to run and can't run on older conventional tracks as required in the US. Accordingly Shinkansen is automatically disqualified.

European high-speed trains can(and do) run on older conventional tracks, and are designed for crashes with cargo trains and automobiles at the crossings. This is why Euro bullet trains are legal in the US under the revised FRA rules but Shinkansen isn't.

RE: That's not a Chinese train.
By modus2 on 6/7/2010 11:01:34 AM , Rating: 2
Almost right

"Injuries and a single fatality have been caused by doors closing on passengers or their belongings"

RE: That's not a Chinese train.
By Iaiken on 6/7/2010 10:52:57 AM , Rating: 2
Posted this below, but people keep getting it wrong...

No, it's a Bombardier Zifiro , they sold 80 of them initially (since expanded to 100):

Seriously, there are PLENTY of news stories on this that you should feel the need to make things up just to sound smart.

By HyperMiler on 6/7/2010 2:13:38 PM , Rating: 2
No, it's a Bombardier Zifiro , they sold 80 of them initially

Bombardier Zefiro-380 doesn't even have a prototype running.

Stop talking when you don't understand what you are talking about.

Compare CNR's CRH380A's body shell with Valero CN(aka CRH3), and they are 100% identical. And it should; CNR license produced Velaro CN as CRH3.

RE: That's not a Chinese train.
By v9s on 6/7/10, Rating: 0
RE: That's not a Chinese train.
By YashBudini on 6/8/2010 12:16:03 AM , Rating: 2
"That particular train is a knock off version of Siemens Velaro."

But is it a legal knock off?

RE: That's not a Chinese train.
By Mike2038 on 6/11/2010 10:46:12 AM , Rating: 2
Why reinvent when cloning is cheaper. This is china.

Besides which...
By KaarlisK on 6/7/2010 7:30:53 AM , Rating: 2
The train is a Bombardier design...

RE: Besides which...
By wuZheng on 6/7/2010 9:09:34 AM , Rating: 2
Yeeee, CA-NA-DA! CA-NA-DA!


However it is good to see another Bombardier derived product out there in the world, its like they have the market for trains or something :).

RE: Besides which...
By HyperMiler on 6/7/2010 9:39:41 AM , Rating: 2
No, it's a Chinese Velaro replica, CNR didn't even bother to change the external design.

RE: Besides which...
By Iaiken on 6/7/2010 10:48:04 AM , Rating: 2
No, it's a Bombardier Zifiro, they sold 80 of them initially (since expanded to 100):

In September 2009, Bombardier announced an order for 80 Zefiro 380 very high speed trains by the Chinese Ministry of Railways (MOR) to be produced at Bombardier's joint venture Sifang (Qingdao) Transportation Ltd. The order of sixty 16 car sets and twenty 8 car sets was estimated to be worth 27.4 billion RMB (approx 2.7€ billion or $4 billion.

Obviously you don't watch enough Bombardier commercials:

They've been bragging about this since they scored the contract.

By FaceMaster on 6/7/2010 7:30:31 AM , Rating: 5
Some have noticed that the train's name may be a bit of a play on another speedy form of transportation -- the A380 superjumbo from Airbus.

...or just that 380 kmh is 236 mph, which happens to be the train's cruising speed.

RE: 380A
By Brandon Hill on 6/7/2010 7:37:53 AM , Rating: 2
Confirmed and updated.

4 hours between Shanghai & China?
By turbotad on 6/7/2010 7:24:40 AM , Rating: 2
It looks to offer a four hour ride between China and Shanghai.

Is this sort of like how one can take a 4 hour car ride between Los Angeles and the United States?

By Farfignewton on 6/7/2010 8:13:38 PM , Rating: 3
Is this sort of like how one can take a 4 hour car ride between Los Angeles and the United States?

I'm not sure a four hour trip out of L.A. will get you out of L.A.

Why do we need to have high speed trains?
By wookie1 on 6/7/2010 8:47:57 PM , Rating: 3
We've got airplanes. They cruise at twice the speed, and save many billions of dollars on tracks that don't need to be laid down and maintained. The routes are flexible. The fares are relatively cheap, even with all of the extra fees laid on top of the fares.

The argument I see often is that you have to get to the airport early to clear security, etc. I'm not sure, but I imagine that security for bullet trains may come close to airplanes and negate this.

People have romantic thoughts about trains, and that is why they like them. See the comment above about watching the ground whiz by like a blur.

By IcePickFreak on 6/8/2010 1:53:30 AM , Rating: 2
I agree.

As if the US in any financial position to all of a sudden build a big train infrastructure to have a use for something like this, which probably wouldn't get used anyway. China is MUCH more reliant on trains than the US is, so ummm.. Congrats China?

We don't need to collectively, as a country, play keeping up with the Jones'. I can't remember the last time someone told me they went on a train to someplace. And I don't mean local area trips (<1 hour) where a high speed train would be pretty much useless.

Chinese-American's were a huge part of completing the Transcontinental Railroad which was a huge part of early America's success so it's almost fitting they're leading the way now.

An interesting side note, Foxconn employees in 2010 get paid approximately 5 times more than these railroad workers did in 1865, prior to the recent 30% raise Foxconn employees got. The US minimum wage in 2010 is approximately 5 times more than the US minimum wage was in 1967. (Not adjusting for inflation etc)

these trains are awesome
By wushuktl on 6/7/2010 7:47:36 AM , Rating: 2
i've been on one of these trains and it had a speedometer in the passenger cabin that proudly showed when it hit 400kph. it barely felt like anything at all but the ground wizzed by like you've never seen before. it was pretty slick. it is too bad that the US will fall so behind in this area as it is a fantastic and comfortable way to travel

RE: these trains are awesome
By FishTankX on 6/7/2010 8:42:07 AM , Rating: 2
Wait, are you talking about the dongche's or the shanghai maglev?

I've ridden the mag lev before and it had the spedo, but I haven't yet taken a ride on the dongche.

By wht1986 on 6/7/2010 10:55:51 AM , Rating: 2
There's a morbid joke about having to ship in new employees to Foxconn faster to keep production rates up somwhere in this ...

RE: Foxconn
By RequiemsAllure on 6/8/2010 10:46:09 AM , Rating: 2
not sure whether to laugh or cry about this joke.

but in all honesty that is pretty messed up, although foxconn is probably thinking the same thing.

By Mizerable on 6/7/2010 10:56:55 AM , Rating: 1
why would we want to spend trillions building something redundant?

i'm guessing most people wouldn't need to go cross country more than twice or thrice a year, and for that Southwest or Delta works great.

what's the point of the train system ?

RE: airplanes?
By PandaBear on 6/7/2010 2:01:29 PM , Rating: 1
That's because if it is in high volume, train is cheaper than plane by a lot as long as it is already built.

We have a lot of special interest in keeping air travel the preferred way instead of rail, the cabs, the airlines, the unions, the oil companies. Having electric train would reduce the need for planes and the oil companies' profit, not something they wanted.

China has the money, and want to put it to good use in the long run because of the amount of people they have, even if it means going cross country only once a year they (and we actually) will have a lot of use to put in the infrastructure that will be there for a hundred year. After stimulating its own technology and economy, that $1T is going to return its investment in a couple decades.

RE: airplanes?
By Solandri on 6/7/2010 4:15:11 PM , Rating: 2
It has nothing to do with some conspiracy to keep air travel the way it is. Planes need about a half hour to get up to cruising altitude, and a half hour to get down. Cruise is where they're most energy efficient. So they're relatively inefficient for trips which take 45 min - 2 hours. That's about 250-1000 miles. Precisely the distances where high speed rail shines.

High speed rail makes more sense at those distances because they can get up to speed relatively quickly, while the travel time is not that much greater than for a plane once you factor in 1-2 hours spent at the airport.

At greater distances, people value the time saved by flying more than the cheaper cost of rail. A plane can cover L.A. to N.Y. in just under 6 hours. A high speed train would need around 11-12. A regular train needs days.

Old story
By xtort107 on 6/8/2010 12:42:23 AM , Rating: 2
Air travel vs train travel, that's pretty much all i need to say. If i can get around just as fast if not faster in a plane vs a train and fare is generally the same, this is a no brainer. You make a transit system economically viable vs fuel cost in a plane and it will be tailored right into what America wants built, keep in mind you have states and regulations to pour through to get something like a bullet train working, it doesn't make sense when i can go to an airport with minor hassle and go to pretty much any destination, trains only stay on a straight path.

News like this is going to come out of some country that has some socialistic standard, we don't.

RE: Old story
By xtort107 on 6/8/2010 12:55:22 AM , Rating: 2
Trains are only for bad people that got put on a no fly list.

By callmeroy on 6/8/2010 9:06:15 AM , Rating: 2
Not really...

Anyone with half a brain knows that the US doesn't exactly kick a$$ in the realm of public transportation.

MANY countries leave us in the dust in terms of public transportation infrastructure if I remember correctly from a ranking list I read a while back we aren't even in the top 10.

Considering we Americans are in love with the automobile (I think mostly because we like the idea of going where we want WHEN we want to) its not too shocking either.

By wookie1 on 6/8/2010 1:04:40 PM , Rating: 2
This is good news. It seems that the countries/regions that supposedly have these utopian transport systems are bankrupt (Europe). Not that the US isn't BK also, but we don't need to go down the hole faster just to catch up to those that are down deeper.

I think that Americans love autos because they provide freedom. I can go where I want when I want to. I don't have to wait for the next bus or train full of sweaty people crammed together, only to find that it is full and I have to wait for the next one - and even once I'm on it it takes 3X as long as driving.

What is the fascination with public transportation? Is it so good to have the government in control of you getting from point A to point B (especially if you need to get there on time)? Is it the Robin Hood complex of taking money from everyone to provide transporation for a few who may have less income? Why should we want public transportation for everyone? Surely we can do better.

waste of money
By supergarr on 6/8/2010 2:03:31 PM , Rating: 2
i think trains are a waste of money. You can't really move the tracks around and you're very limited with your stops. They are great in city environments like subways and such, but a high speed train in a subway is pointless with all the stops that are made

RE: waste of money
By dagamer34 on 6/13/2010 12:23:27 AM , Rating: 2
High speed trains are put between cities, not in them. Please read the article.

By AntDX316 on 6/15/2010 6:21:50 AM , Rating: 2
See this is what happens when things r spent on things other than war

By AntDX316 on 6/15/2010 6:23:22 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think China has a defense, if they ever need military assistance they will just call the United States and have them spend their money :)

By JesusShuttlesworth on 6/7/2010 7:27:24 AM , Rating: 3
Politicize the leads much?

By rvd2008 on 6/7/2010 9:59:59 AM , Rating: 2
That will be 20x more expensive to build it here if you take into account labor cost... just not gonna happen.

RE: 20x
By rvd2008 on 6/7/2010 10:04:19 AM , Rating: 1
And most of it will have to be imported from China anyway since we don't have industrial strength and capacity in the US. Let's just hope we can still print more dollars in exchange... PROBABLY NOT FOR LONG

Looking to China...
By The0ne on 6/7/2010 12:54:42 PM , Rating: 1
Although not mentioned, probably not researched to begin with, US is looking to China to provide their expertise in this area. CA particularly has had discussion already. Why would the US be looking to China? Well, because we really aren't up to par with the technology whereas China is. Funny, it seems but true.

I'm actually against China building our high speed rails here. I've done enough business there to not want their type of quality no matter how hard we tried to make things "right."

RE: Looking to China...
By HyperMiler on 6/7/2010 2:09:13 PM , Rating: 2
Why would the US be looking to China? Well, because we really aren't up to par with the technology whereas China is. Funny, it seems but true.

It's not technology; it's funding.

California HSR project costs $40 billion; and Chinese are the most aggressive in terms of low-cost construction loan-offer in excess of $15~20 billion. Money talks in tough times like this enough to look at bids that wouldn't be considered in normal times.

Fortunately, FRA cleared up this issue for California by disqualifying Chinese bid over safety issues. Unfortunately, it would also disqualify Japanese bid, another big state financier but with a higher price tag.

Who cares?
By YashBudini on 6/7/10, Rating: 0
RE: Who cares?
By iFX on 6/15/2010 5:42:06 PM , Rating: 2
The NYC baboons are certainly to blame but they aren't the only ones.

Joe & Sally Typical American Couple make $75k per year. They want a new home and find one priced at $450,000 in 2005 and it's actually worth probably somewhere around $225,000. They sign the papers to the interest only ARM loan for $500,000 because they rolled their existing debt into the mortgage. Over the life of the loan (average 30 years) the home will cost them $1.2 million dollars. For the first three years they will only pay interest, their payment will be LOW.

Then Joe and Sally get a letter in the mail saying their home value has gone up and is now worth $500,000 so the debt they rolled into the house effectively vanishes. So like good consumers they decide to take out a second mortgage on the house to buy that fancy new car they want. Now they have two mortgage payments and they have been paying them no problem because the big one is interest only and the little one has a small principle.

But wait, not it's 2008 and their interest only run for their first mortgage is done. Joe and Sally must now make the FULL payment every month. The payment is effectually doubled on the first mortgage and combined with the second mortgage they're in over their heads, their finances quickly run into the red.

So for all of 2008 Joe and Sally have only made 5 actual payments on their first mortgage. Several million other Americans have done the same thing and banks are starting to become insolvent. Meanwhile, that $500,000 home that was only really worth $225-250k is now ACTUALLY WORTH $225-250k because the housing bubble finally popped. So Joe and Sally are upside down in their home, can't sell it and can't make the payment.

Multiply that by a couple MILLION times and you can see where banks are LITERALLY running out of money. Now, banks make money by lending it to each other as well. So now XYZ bank isn't receiving monthly payments on the 10,000 mortgage it has outstanding and in turn can't pay ABC bank the money it borrowed from them last year. Now ABC bank isn't receiving their payments from XYZ bank or their mortgages either, so now both banks are insolvent.

And the process goes on and on an on. Barack Obama, PMSNBC and Congress can claim ALL THEY WANT about the economy being "recovered" BULL! Banks are STILL failing and will continue. The housing market is NOT recovering and WON'T so long as huge portions of the inventory are tied up with Joe and Sally who can't sell the damn thing.

So are the hot shot NYC bankers and investors to blame? Absolutely, but are a lot of other people, little, every day people (MILLIONS OF THEM) who are also to blame, just as much, maybe morose than the big bankers.

My solution? Throw the big corporate bankers and investors in jail and then look at people's finances on a case by case basis. If their tax records indicate they could not afford the house once the ARM adjusted from the interest free people THROW THEM IN JAIL TOO.

Some rich irony
By wookie1 on 6/8/2010 1:08:16 PM , Rating: 2
I think that the irony is pretty rich here that we would compete with China to build bullet trains when we would also have to borrow the money from them in order to do so! The "competition" would end as soon as they stopped buying our bonds, as they have already mentioned since our debt is already so high.

By vailr on 6/12/2010 3:29:06 PM , Rating: 2
King's Cross to Beijing in two days on new high-speed rail network
Additionally, there's already a recently opened passenger train service between Beijing and Lhasa, Tibet.
It's not quite "high speed", however: maximum speed of 200 km per hour

By monkeyman1140 on 6/13/2010 6:06:30 PM , Rating: 2
Your local infrastructure suffers.

The Soviets found that out. While they were busy putting military bases worldwide, their citizens were using antiquated trains, standing in bread lines, and freezing in the winter despite plenty of oil and natural gas available.

The USA isn't that bad off, but you can tell what our priorities are.....the military infrastructure must be kept well fed, damn health care, damn transportation, damn the citizens needs.

Florida High Speed Rail
By iFX on 6/15/2010 5:19:50 PM , Rating: 2
In Florida we're getting high speed rail connecting our major populations centers (excluding Jacksonville which as I understand will come late). Basically we will have a high speed triangle linking Orlando, Miami and Tampa-StPete. I think this is an excellent idea.

For instance, if I live in Orlando and have to go to Tampa-StPete my options are:

- Drive the 130 or so miles which during traffic time could take 2.5 hours, maybe longer. I have after driving for 2 hours entered Tampa and sat in Tampa traffic another hour.

- Take a commuter flight which involves getting to the airport 2 hours early, sitting at the airport for an additional hour, waiting for delays, etc.


I can arrive at the train station 15 minutes early, board a train to Tampa, arrive in 45 minutes to an hour and be on my way.

I'll take the train, thanks.

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