By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Cities
Forget the space race; the new arms race is over high-speed trains. China plans to build a high-speed rail network that connects Beijing to Vietnam, India, Europe and Russia.
China is in negotiations to build a high-speed rail network to India and Europe that would make a trip from London to Beijing last just two days.
The network would begin in London and extend to India, Pakistan and Beijing. It could eventually carry passengers from on to Singapore, a trip that would last three days, according to project consultant Wang Mengshu, as reported in the Telegraph (UK).
A second line would extend from Beijing northward, through Russia to Germany, linking with the European railway system.
A third line would extend southward, connecting Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and Malaysia.
If you don't think two days is very impressive, consider this: London is 5,070 air miles away from Beijing. Singapore? 6,750 miles.
"We are aiming for the trains to run almost as fast as aeroplanes," said Mr Wang. "The best case scenario is that the three networks will be completed in a decade," he added.
According to the Telegraph report, China is in negotiations with 17 nations for the massive project, which would effectively open the Central, East and Southeast Asia to Europe (and vice-versa).
In a way, it's the Silk Road 2.0: the rail lines would allow China to transport raw materials more directly and efficiently.
China is in the midst of completing a $735.6 billion, five-year domestic railway expansion project consisting of almost 19,000 miles of new railways.
The nation unveiled the world's fastest train, the Harmony Express, last year. The train has a top speed of almost 250 miles per hour, and will be used between the cities of Wuhan and Guangzhou.
The exact routes of the three lines haven't yet been decided, but construction for the southern line has already begun, according to the report.
Here's an interesting bit from the report:
China has offered to bankroll the Burmese line in exchange for the country's rich reserves of lithium, a metal widely used in batteries.
The only rail line that serves the area was built by the French in Vietnam a century ago.
The only issue? Money, of course. But politics plays a part, too: ensuring the use of a common gauge across so many nations' territories has its own hurdles, not to mention visa requirements.
More high-speed rail coverage on SmartPlanet:
- It runs in tubes: the first high-speed rail, circa 1870
- High-speed rail helps European economy; can it help the US?
- US government kick-starts $8 billion in high-speed rail projects
- Western states propose high-speed rail across Rockies, deserts
- High-speed rail gets green light from Florida lawmakers
- Could a shortage of engineering know-how derail US high-speed trains?
- John Dodge: High-speed rail is worth it
- Is high-speed rail worth it in the U.S.?
Mar 17, 2010
It's time you Yanks got with the 21st century - measuring stuff in miles instead of kilometers is so 19th century... And for my 2 cents worth (or is that 2 Euros? ;)), even if the project is completed - & it won't be due to the natural disasters that are their way very soon - it absolutely would become a terrorists dream target. It's so easy to plonk some explosives on the track in an "out of the way" spot, rig up a remote camera, hook it to the 'net and BOOM - carnage by remote control with total safety & anonymity for the Satan-worshiping terrorist. And for those who think China is just one big box of fluffy ducks, why don't you pull your head out of your socialist cloud of drugs and smell the crap that the Chinese are shoveling. The ONLY reason China is competitive in ANY aspect of commerce is that they pay their labourers crap wages and rip off everybody else's tech. Not that the US smells of roses, but the Chinese are as bad - just in a different way...
The only difference between China and the US is that the resource-wasting projects China announces for its kleptocracy's glory (rail) actually make sense, compared to the resource- wasting projects the US announces for its kleptocracy's glory (wars and similar murderous pursuits.) Will the train line work and make economically sense? Maybe it will, maybe it won't, but wars certainly won't, so they beat the US right from start. This might be good. This is the first time a kleptocracy tries to justify its existence over the masses by (maybe) producing something useful, as opposed to the millenias-old pretext, claiming to protect from some evil (terrorist, poverty, organized crime, the devil) which the kleptocracy in fact creates.
the title is a dignan trademark. as long as these articles, indeed this '50s attitude persists, the US will just watch helplessly as the world flashes by--the world being more than just china.
To Steve H.T. - You couldn`t be more correct. This pernicious title is in line with the constant pressure to paint China as a threat. Even something as inoffensive but exhilarating as these plans for new railway lines is portrayed as an act of military aggression. It seems that some people need to create an "enemy" whether it exists or not and these same people cannot stand the idea that another country or other countries can, could or might have the same international weight as the USA. It should be remembered that It is official US Government policy to maintain military predominance and the statistics on arms spending clearly show who represents a military threat to other countries - " * World military expenditure in 2008 is estimated to have reached $1.464 trillion in current dollars (just over $1.2 trillion in 2005 constant dollars, as per above graph); * This represents a 4 per cent increase in real terms since 2007 and a 45 per cent increase over the 10-year period since 1999; * This corresponds to 2.4 per cent of world gross domestic product (GDP), or $217 for each person in the world; * The USA with its massive spending budget, is the principal determinant of the current world trend, and its military expenditure now accounts for just under half of the world total, at 41.5% of the world total;" "The USA is responsible for 41.5 per cent of the world total, distantly followed by the China (5.8% of world share), France (4.5%), UK (4.5%), and Russia (4%)" [World Military Spending - < http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending>
This is lifting the whole region and the human beings. The title can't be more wrong and mis-leading.
It would be nice to see something like that around the USA, even if it were a transcontinetal line NY to LA for instance with feeder lines from the bigger cities, kind of like the airline hubs.
Assuming that terrorism is an inevitable reality of the future, does anyone else see these high speed trains carrying possibly thousands of people as an extremely easy terrorism target? Presumably it's much easier to sabotage a land based system than an aircraft AND kill a lot more people. I suspect people will be forced to rethink high speed rail after the first such event. gary
But such are the benefits of not having to pay people market rates for appropriated land, completing those pesky environmental impact studies and implementing the subsequent expensive and frequently pointless remediation projects. There are some advantages to being a communist country.
Have used China"High Speed Rail Network the CRH and it is fantastic! This is what Mass Transportation will be all about. The "Developed World" has to swallow its misplaced pride and learn from China!!