World’s longest high-speed railway debuts in China


The world’s fastest trains ready to roll — Click to enlarge

The world’s longest high-speed rail line, which spans over half of China, began operating on Wednesday, further cementing the country’s high-speed railway development ambitions.

Two trains departed from stations in Beijing and Guangzhou at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., respectively, to mark the opening of the 2,298-km line.

Running at an average speed of 300 km per hour, the new route cuts travel time between Beijing and Guangzhou from over 20 hours to about eight.

A total of 155 pairs of trains will run on the new line daily and alternative schedules have been made for weekends and peak travel times, according to the Ministry of Railways…

There will still be 183 pairs of trains running daily on the old Beijing-Guangzhou line that runs parallel to the high-speed line, allaying concerns that the new line will increase passengers’ travel costs.

A second-class seat on the new high-speed line costs $138 while a sleeper on the old line sells for around half that amount…

With the opening of the Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed line, China now has more than 9,300 km of high-speed rails in operation.

The new line is one of four north-south lines expected to serve as a backbone for the country’s planned high-speed railway network, which also features four east-west lines…

Research by the Development Research Center of the State Council showed that the Beijing-Zhengzhou section of the new high-speed line will add $44 billion to the country’s GDP by 2030…

The full operation of the Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railway will accelerate China’s urbanization progress, as it will help large cities to better perform their role as central cities, boost the development of medium-sized cities along the route and foster the birth and development of new small cities and towns, said Sun Shuli, a chief engineer responsible for designing sections of the new line.

I’m a fan of any kind of railroad that runs quiet and reasonably fast. Our own shiny new railroad connecting north/south in central New Mexico is quiet, on time, and not especially fast. Though it has a roadbed capable of high speeds.

I sort of knew the opening run of the bullet trains was happening, yesterday [US time], from mentions on the news on CCTV9; but, wasn’t paying close attention. It was a kick when I switched to the channel mid-afternoon and realized I was watching a live feed of the train setting forth from Beijing’s central RR station. Cameras along the track and inside the engine and passenger cars showed the kind of excitement I know I would have felt to be on such a trip.

Obama and his administration have a clear idea of the benefits of high-speed rail to our economy and logistics in general. Congress and conservatives owned pretty much lock, stock and barrel by motor freight and fossil fuel industries couldn’t care less. I doubt if we’ll see any success at repairing existing infrastructure much less upgrades to our rail network – in this century.

3 thoughts on “World’s longest high-speed railway debuts in China

  1. eideard says:

    One of the funny bits is how superstition varies from culture to culture. The Chinese bullet trains have 13 cars. Something that would never happen here.

    13 is a lucky number in China.

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