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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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Who cares?
By YashBudini on 6/7/2010 11:49:20 PM , Rating: 0
1. The train is probably riddled with lead, or do they save it all for US only products?

2. After the global clusterfuck caused by Wall St bankers most people don't have anywhere to go anyway.

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.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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