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.
quote: 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.
quote: 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...