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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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RE: NYC subways is garbage?
By tastyratz on 9/30/2010 11:44:49 AM , Rating: 5
you want the truth? public transport will never effectively work in the united states.
oh no I offended the prius gen!

Sorry buddy but its a pipe dream (pun intended). The reality is the infrastructure was built into the cities and is heavily used in foreign countries. People are too dependent on independence and its too affordable to have and drive a vehicle to work in the us. Its a vicious cycle because without heavy use public transport does not become economical. It just isn't going to happen.


RE: NYC subways is garbage?
By Taft12 on 9/30/2010 3:04:46 PM , Rating: 2
What about the day that it is not affordable to drive a vehicle to work?


RE: NYC subways is garbage?
By chick0n on 9/30/2010 3:12:39 PM , Rating: 1
I will take public transportation IF NYC have 1/2 as much efficient/quality compared to say, Hong Kong's Subway system.

NYC's MTA is a f-ing joke, now they're cutting back janitors in the stations to cut cost when the stations are already fuxking dirty + infested with Rats/Roaches every-fuxking where. and they just cut more bus services . and they're raising prices every year cuz they're "losing" money. Of course they're losing money those overweight fat ass working in the high up gets millions dollars a year + they just don't do shit.

lmao NYC system is nothing but a fuxking Joke.


RE: NYC subways is garbage?
By web2dot0 on 9/30/2010 3:14:43 PM , Rating: 2
Whether you like it or now, having China gaining all this expertise advantage in building high-speed rail is a BAD thing. Sooner or later, we are going to need high-speed rail to commute, and when that happens, you will be begging for China to lend them THEIR expertise ... at a premium.

You can say all your want about this and that, but the bottom line is we have to retain KNOWLEDGE. We are in the information age.


RE: NYC subways is garbage?
By 91TTZ on 9/30/2010 4:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
You missed the fact that China isn't developing these trains. They're buying them from foreign countries.


RE: NYC subways is garbage?
By SPOOFE on 9/30/2010 11:15:02 PM , Rating: 2
Make no mistake, China's "special sauce" in this endeavor is not any particular technological aptitude, it's their ability to kick their citizens around with impunity.

An attempt to try this in the States would cost orders of magnitude more, what with all the lawsuits filed to fend it off.


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