China unveils 'world's fastest train link'

January 11, 2010
China unveils 'world's fastest train link'

Last month China unveiled what it billed as the fastest rail link in the world -- a train connecting the modern cities of Guangzhou and Wuhan at an average speed of 350 kilometres (217 miles) an hour.

The super-high-speed train reduces the 1,069 kilometre journey to a three hour ride and cuts the previous journey time by more than seven and a half hours, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Work on the project began in 2005 as part of plans to expand a high-speed network aimed at eventually linking Guangzhou, a business hub in southern near Hong Kong, with the capital Beijing, Xinhua added.

"The train can go 394.2 kilometres per hour, it's the fastest train in operation in the world," Zhang Shuguang, head of the transport bureau at the railways ministry, told Xinhua.

Test runs for the service began earlier in December and the link officially went into service when the first scheduled train left the eastern metropolis of Wuhan on Saturday.

By comparison, the average for high-speed trains in Japan was 243 kilometres per hour while in France it was 277 kilometres per hour, said Xu Fangliang, general engineer in charge of designing the link, according to Xinhua.

Beijing has an ambitious rail development programme aimed at increasing the national network from the current 86,000 kilometres to 120,000 kilometres, making it the most extensive rail system outside the United States.

China unveiled its first high-speed line at the time of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 -- a service linking the capital with the port city of Tianjin.

In September, officials said they planned to build 42 high-speed lines by 2012 in a massive system overhaul as part of efforts to spur economic growth amid the global downturn.

The network uses technology developed in co-operation with foreign firms such as Siemens, Bombardier and Alstom.

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not rated yet Jan 12, 2010
why wouldn`t the headline read "bonbardier unveils the world`s fastest trainlink"?
not rated yet Jan 12, 2010
why wouldn`t the headline read "bonbardier unveils the world`s fastest trainlink"?

haha yea. I like the Chinese though, they don't mess around with that kind of projects, this sort of thing would have take 10 years to build in Occident, + a few years delay.
not rated yet Jan 12, 2010
...a massive system overhaul as part of efforts to spur economic growth amid the global downturn

One has to wonder... Is this an "if you build it, they will come" sort of deal? Or is it an "if you build it, they'll have something to do" kind of strategy? It's one thing to connect dense business hubs; it's another to reach remote rural areas at what has to be a rather impressive cost. How will the (unrecouped?) construction, operation, and maintenance costs of such a massive expansion, factor into China's overall economic performance in the midst of the "downturn"? Is this another example of Keynesian stratagems at work: when in doubt, take on more debt?
1 / 5 (1) Jan 12, 2010
why wouldn`t the headline read "bonbardier unveils the world`s fastest trainlink"?
Because Bombardier didn't pay for it.
not rated yet Jan 12, 2010
unlike the us, chinas economic reinvestments acts,aimed at creating jobs, can be paid for by their huge warchest, so efficiency (recoup time etc) is less suspectible to criticism, than so Obamas plan, having to rely on huge debt to revive economy.
5 / 5 (2) Jan 12, 2010
We may be somewhat gratefull in Europe and US that China is throwing money at high speed rails, nuclear reactors etc. because those hightech areas means billion$ flowing back to companies like westinghouse and Siemens, in a way, China subsidizes part of us/eu economy, because they know, world economy must not collapse, in order to continue their long march, but since us/eu can not compete in price on lo-tech products like toys etc, what else than know-how for high-tech megaprojects could be worth buying for?
5 / 5 (2) Jan 12, 2010
One could add that China still manages to get a 8% GDP growth figure (and is predicetd to do so for some time). As long as you have growth there's nothing wrong with investing in infrastructural changes.

With the distances involved it makes sense to invest in high-speed rail systems. Especially when it's a real alternative to flying.

Seeing that rail is also a bit more eco-friendly than using planes it is probably the best time to set up something like this. Kudos to China for being brave enough to get this done.
not rated yet Jan 12, 2010
One could add that China still manages to get a 8% GDP growth figure...

But I wonder whether that figure (or much of anything) can really be trusted, coming from the Party? Who audits this? Where are the checks and balances?

And how much of this "GDP" is really debt-fueled? For example, in US the last 2-3 decades had "growth" that occurred not so much as a result of organic internal industrial development. On the contrary, our industrial base was being eviscerated all along. No, our "growth" happened due to a ballooning debt, which (until it has to be repaid) constituted "extra money" circulating into the system, and hence extra "GDP". But in fact, if the debt is taken out of the picture, have we really grown much at all? Same questions might be asked about China -- though their form of debt might be not so much in terms of bonds and IOUs, but rather in terms of overbuilding the infrastructure (leading to under-utilization and front-loading all the maintenance costs...)
5 / 5 (2) Jan 12, 2010
And how much of this "GDP" is really debt-fueled?
Since China has cash to spare to buy up US debts this should answer your question.
5 / 5 (1) Jan 12, 2010
Is this the Maglev Train which was much advertised last year? I know that China is the only country in the world which has a commercial Maglev line linking its airport to the main city. Last I checked, the only other Maglev line is a test track in Germany built by the developers.

I would be very surprised if this is the second Maglev segment going into operation and the article didn't even mention the word once.
Considering the speed, it sounds a little beyond normal friction bound 'earthly' trains anyway.
5 / 5 (1) Jan 16, 2010
No, this is a 'regular' train. Currently the only maglev in operation in China is the Shanghai Maglev Train (with a 30km long track).
not rated yet Jan 17, 2010
Thanks Antialias! But then is this 'train' faster than even the Maglev? Is that possible?
I thought Maglev had set new speed records for land travel!
5 / 5 (1) Jan 17, 2010
Maglev does about 430km/h max.

Since the track is rather short that speed is only achieved for a few seconds so the average speed is rather lower (I think about 260km/h)

The Guangzhou-Wuhan line is rather longer so the average speed is much closeer to its max speed.

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