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China's Shanghai and Hangzhou rail line is the world's highest average speed rail line.  (Source: Reuters)
China continues to advance its high-speed rail program

When it comes to high speed rail transportation, the U.S. is getting left behind. Europe and Japan have long championed high speed rail, and China is currently working 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 -- and spending $1T USD on the project.  By comparison, U.S. President Barack Obama has committed a mere $13B USD in high speed rail investment.  And where the U.S. deployment has struggled with landowner and property concerns, the more efficient Chinese system has simply relocated land owners (despite their protests) and started construction.

A few months back set a speed record (average speed, not top speed) of 236 mph (380 km/h) for its Shanghai to Beijing line.  This week it bumped that speed up even higher recording a speed of 258.9 mph (416.6 km/h) for its new train line between Shanghai and Hangzhou.

The previous train took approximately 80 minutes to cover the 125.5 mi (202 km) between the cities.  The new line will typically travel at around 217.5 mph (350 km/h), cutting that time to around 40 minutes. 

China currently has 4,300 miles of railroad track -- the most of any nation in the world.  While its trains aren't quite as fast at top speed compared to foreign models -- Japan's JR-Maglev train (unrailed), which achieved a speed of 581 km/h (361 mph) and France's TGV at 574.8 km/h (357.18 mph) (railed) -- in average speed it is unbeaten.

So why does the world care if China is beating it in high-speed transportation?  Well China's train system is not only high-speed, it is also high volume as well.  And at the end of the day it's offering its citizens days in extra productivity every year, which will likely have tremendous and unheralded benefits on the economy.  For example, the average citizen commuting on the new record-setting line will save approximately an hour and 20 minutes a day.

Of course the costs are tremendous and China has much work to go before it can reach its hyper-ambitious goals, like 1,000 km/h super-trains, it's clearly setting a blistering pace with technological advancements.

China's train lines are almost entirely managed by state-owned enterprises, though many are publicly traded on stock markets in Hong Kong and China.



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By 91TTZ on 9/30/2010 11:11:18 AM , Rating: 2
If human rights or citizens' rights weren't a concern, any country could do the same thing. License the technology from another country and then simply kick people out of their homes to make room for the system. China doesn't have to worry about people getting mad at them and not re-electing them because the people have no choice.

For instance, when they wanted to build the Three Gorges Dam, they simply kicked 1.2 million people out of their houses and relocated them. When the choice is to comply or "disappear from the census", people will tend to comply.

But before you think this is a good thing, look at their pollution and human rights abuses. Would you really want to live there?




By JackPack on 9/30/2010 12:53:56 PM , Rating: 4
The Three Gorges Dam saves lives by significantly reducing the danger of flooding and landslides.

I love how Americans only look at one side of the equation. No wonder you guys are no longer competitive.


By tng on 9/30/2010 1:44:57 PM , Rating: 2
You missed as well that geologists are starting to believe that project such as that dam could have seismic impacts as well. Putting a huge weight on an area that already has some unstable faultlines could be asking for trouble in the future.


By AssBall on 9/30/2010 4:43:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
could be asking for trouble in the future


So does living in a flood zone or next to a volcano, but that doesn't stop people. We have to draw a reasonable line somewhere, which was part of his point.


By tng on 9/30/2010 6:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
I got his point and agree with it. I was just pointing out some useless hyperbole.

I did notice that anyone who posted about not agreeing with the current state of Eminent Domain got rated down. What is that all about?


By FITCamaro on 10/1/2010 8:50:43 AM , Rating: 2
Certain people have multiple accounts so they can post and rate people down/up. I don't.

Who cares. An intelligent person can decide for themselves. I read all comments pretty much regardless of rating.


By 91TTZ on 9/30/2010 4:23:55 PM , Rating: 2
That's a backwards way of looking at things. The flooding and landslides are perfectly natural occurrences. The problem is people wanting to live where floods and landslides routinely take place.

If you moved your house to the bottom of a volcano, is the problem that a volcano is near your house or is the problem that you're living next to a volcano?

And the US isn't competitive? Our economy is still 1.5x as large as China's and we have only 25% of the people. We can breathe fresh air and we can speak out against our government without being dragged off to prison.


By SPOOFE on 9/30/2010 11:04:42 PM , Rating: 2
We're plenty competitive.

We are NOT "ridiculously dominant" anymore, however. We rode quite the wave of economic expansion post-WWII. Gave us a good five decades of nearly-free lunch. Other countries are building up at phenomenal rates, but they have a ways to go before we can see if the US is "competitive".


By FITCamaro on 10/1/2010 8:55:48 AM , Rating: 3
Well he is right on some degree. No, no one has been locked up. But when after Obama takes office, Homeland Security publishes a memo saying to "keep an eye" essentially on people in the NRA or otherwise speak out against the government, I'd say there's something wrong.

When the (in)Justice Department dismisses a case of clear voter intimidation because the people running are admittedly not prosecuting people of a certain race for violating the Voter Rights Act, I'd say something is wrong. This came out in court this week, people can search it (granted those who will rate me down, don't care about the truth).


By AssBall on 9/30/2010 5:00:50 PM , Rating: 2
Last time I checked, libel, slander, and threats weren't covered under the first amendment.

quote:
Oh have u also forgot the wire tap bill? oh yea the government can wire tap u without a reason. hmm wait there is a reason, they "believed" that you did something bad, thats enough of a reason, right ?


Um, so how is this so different from a warranted wire tap? The FBI "believed" you did something bad, and convinced a judge to issue a warrant, get typed up by a clerk, sent through the proper channels, by which time it was too late to be useful.

All we did is free up some red tape in our justice system. It is okay to lose the tinfoil hat if you want.


By Fritzr on 10/3/2010 2:52:29 AM , Rating: 2
They had the power to use warrentless wiretaps in time sensitive cases before the Patriot Act. The difference was they had to get a retroactive court order within a time limit if they wanted to use the take.

The FBI has clearly shown that they can be trusted. Herbert Hoover never did anything wrong. Nobody in the FBI abused National Security Letters. An FBI agent is too honest to cheat on tests. I have a really nice bridge for sale, it's on the river in Brooklyn...


By SPOOFE on 9/30/2010 11:06:28 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
try to say some shit about this country or Obama in public

I was doing that just this afternoon. To a cop. He laughed and agreed.

OH MY GOD WHAT A FASCIST!!!


By AnnihilatorX on 10/5/2010 4:46:19 AM , Rating: 2
You have to agree, totalitarianism is pretty effective driver for development, if the government is good at it.


"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen














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