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China's new 500 km/h high-speed train   (Source: China Daily)
It launched over the weekend and was created to resemble an ancient Chinese sword

Despite experiencing a number of issues earlier this year, China launched a new super-rapid test train this past weekend.

The new high-speed train can travel as fast as 500 km/h (about 310 mph), and was made by a subsidiary China's largest train provider CSR Corp Ltd. It launched over the weekend and was created to resemble an ancient Chinese sword.

"[It] will provide useful reference for current high-speed railway operations," said Shen Zhiyun, a train expert.

The train consists of six cars, and has a maximum tractive power of 22,800 kilowatts. According to Ding Sansan, CSR's chief technician, the train's bodywork consists of plastic materials "reinforced with carbon fiber."

China's $1T USD high-speed rail bid hopes to build 13,000 km (8,078 miles) of high-speed rail network by 2012, and about 20,000 km (12,427 miles) by 2020.

This new launch comes after a series of high-speed train-related troubles throughout 2011. In February, Liu Zhijun, former Railways Ministry chief, was accused of pocketing $122 million USD and terminated from his position from corruption charges. In July, a collision between two high-speed trains in Wenzhou killed at least 40 people and injured another 210.

Other issues with China's high-speed trains included the use of low-quality materials to build the tracks, which led to trains nearly derailing and the country having to drop the top speed of trains from 218 mph to 186 mph, and costly ticket prices for the use of high-speed trains. These problems led to slowed construction of the rail system, which worried some that the project could eventually lead to bank failures.

"In China, we will have a debt crisis -- a high-speed rail debt crisis," said Zhao Jian, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University, earlier this year. "I think it is more serious than your subprime mortgage crisis. You can always leave a house or use it. The rail system is there. It's a burden. You must operate the rail system, and when you operate it, the cost is very high."

Source: Reuters

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RE: Where's the USA at
By amanojaku on 12/26/2011 10:38:46 AM , Rating: 2
If you have $1T to pay for rail you should be spending it on the debt, or something else more important.

RE: Where's the USA at
By AlvinCool on 12/26/2011 10:45:27 AM , Rating: 2
If you have $1T to pay for rail you should be spending it on the debt, or something else more important.

I agree with that. How about three freight rail systems going from east to west coast carrying freight and trailers so 40ft trailers are no longer the norm. Saves major fuel and makes shipping more efficient helping setup an infrastructure for bringing back manufacturing to the US.

RE: Where's the USA at
By Chernobyl68 on 12/27/2011 2:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
20 and 40 foot containers are the international standard. Most modern STAA - trailers (Big Rigs) are 53' trailers. Intermodal freight (using containers) has been growing steadily over the years. Long haul trucking will be reduced eventually but won't dissapear, as intermodal isn't the most efficient or most direct for every customer and supplier.

RE: Where's the USA at
By Middleman on 12/26/2011 7:39:18 PM , Rating: 2
Weak Statement,

Investing in infrastructure creates money.

By moving goods and people faster along, you safe time.

Time = money.

Infrastructure in transporation promotes growth of cities and commercial centers.

North America should be investing heavily in high speed rail, coast to coast.

RE: Where's the USA at
By FaaR on 12/26/2011 8:01:06 PM , Rating: 1
Spending $1T on debt is just flushing $1T down the drain; it accomplishes nothing of any significance.

Spending that $1T on infrastructure however immediately creates $1T's worth of wages and materials; wages which will be translated into consumption, which will drive supply, and the materials bills will drive employment at suppliers of said materials, again giving rise to secondary effects in society.

Then you get added benefits from using that piece of infrastructure, wether it's a hydroelectric dam (those are bad for the environment, though), highways, railways, and so on.

Building infrastructure is one of the smartest things you can do with a government's money; even if that money is borrowed, because it directly boosts the economy, greatly, from top to bottom. Paying off debt stimulates sweet F-all.

RE: Where's the USA at
By GuinnessKMF on 12/28/2011 9:33:43 AM , Rating: 2
You know that we have to pay interest on that debt, right? That we're currently paying more than $400 billion a year just to keep the debt where it is. Paying the debt down is investing in future projects.

I agree that there is no point in paying the debt down until we can actually have a reasonable budget without a deficit.

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