World's longest bullet train service launched in China

December 26, 2012
A high-speed train departs a platform in Hebei province, south of Beijing, on December 22, 2012 (AFP/File, Ed Jones)

China launched services Wednesday on the world's longest high-speed rail route, the latest milestone in the country's rapid and—sometimes troubled—super fast rail network.

The opening of the new 2,298-kilometre (1,425-mile) line between Beijing and Guangzhou means passengers will be whisked from the capital to the southern commercial hub in just eight hours, compared with the 22 hours previously required.

State broadcaster China Central Television showed the 9:00 am (0100 GMT) departure of the first train live from Beijing West Railway Station and its arrival later in Guangzhou at about 5:00 pm.

It also carried occasional live reports inside the train throughout the day, showing passengers toting cameras to apparently snap commemorative photos, as well as shots from outside as it sped through the countryside.

Another train departed Guangzhou for the capital at 10:00 am, the official reported.

The train departing Beijing travelled at an of 300 kilometres per hour and made stops in four cities—Shijiazhuang, Zhengzhou, Wuhan on the and Changsha before arriving in Guangzhou.

State media have reported that December 26 was chosen to start passenger service on the Beijing-Guangzhou line to commemorate the birth in 1893 of revered Chinese leader Mao Zedong.

The Beijing-Guangzhou route was made possible with the completion of a line between Zhengzhou and Beijing. High-speed sections linking Zhengzhou and Wuhan and Wuhan and Guangzhou were already in service.

China opens world's longest high-speed railway (AFP Graphic)

China's network was only established in 2007, but has fast become the world's largest. Xinhua said that China now operates 9,300 kilometres of high-speed railways.

The state-run newspaper reported Wednesday that the nation's high-speed rail network is set to jump to 50,000 kilometres by 2020, with four main lines running north and south and another four east and west.

China has relied on technology transfers from foreign companies, including France's Alstom, Germany's Siemens and Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries, to develop its high-speed rail network.

But the country is now seeking to capitalise on what it has learned and has been building high-speed rail networks in foreign countries such as Turkey and Venezuela, and has ambitions further afield.

The China News Service reported Wednesday that the major type of train running on the Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed rail route is produced by state-owned China CNR Corp., headquartered in Beijng and founded in June 2008.

China's domestic network, while a symbol of its emergence as the world's second-largest economy, has also been plagued by graft and safety scandals, such as a collision in July 2011 that killed 40 people.

The accident was China's worst rail disaster since 2008 and caused a torrent of public criticism aimed at the government amid accusations that authorities compromised safety in their rush to expand the network.

Authorities said they have taken steps ahead of the new line's opening to improve maintenance and inspection of infrastructure, and emergency response measures.

"The emergency rescue system and all kinds of emergency pre-plans are established to improve emergency response ability," according to a ministry booklet.

Still, safety concerns remain.

The Global Times newspaper, with close ties to China's ruling Communist Party, on Wednesday quoted a Ministry of Railways official acknowledging continuing problems despite intense efforts to solve them during trial runs.

"We can't make sure it's error-proof in the future, and we have been subject to a lot of pressure from the public," Zhao Chunlei, deputy chief of the ministry's transportation department, told the paper.

The train's opening means that it will be in service over China's Lunar New Year holiday period, which falls in mid-February next year.

Hundreds of millions of people travel across the country during that period to visit their ancestral hometowns in the world's largest annual migration.

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2.7 / 5 (6) Dec 26, 2012
Maybe Wright was on to something. All rails and no roads was the best setup in "SimCity," but that's just a game.

Personally, I think they'll eventually find the high speed is too expensive to operate. If the existing definition of kinetic energy is correct, then it costs 44% more energy to go 300kph than 250kph, but that is only a 20% increase in speed. An 8 hour trip at 300kph is only 9.6 hours at 250kph. Not a big deal, because in most cases 96 extra minutes isn't going to make any difference in a person's schedule if they are already spending most of a day or night on a train anyway.

I point this out every time on rail articles, and people always negative me, but imagine if you made a 44% energy savings on everything we do...The keeling curve would be flat right now, maybe even negative; that's how big a difference it is.
4.4 / 5 (7) Dec 26, 2012
I point this out every time on rail articles

And you think these guys are too dumb to do the math? That they just build stuff without thinking it through?
They have their reasons for making the train as fast as it goes - and the extra energy cost is certainly not a factor that merits a slower train (because you can make that argument ad infinitum until you arrive at an optimally efficient, but stationary, train)

They need to go as fast as they do because trains need to beat out airplanes (or at least be a reasonable alternative). And the energy savings compared to THAT mode of transportation are great enough to the point of being economically significant.
4.2 / 5 (6) Dec 26, 2012
Is sad when i hear news like this and know that here in the US, speed trains are nowhere near the radar of anyone in congress. I think is important to put many things into consideration as antialias_physorg mentioned. First and foremost, these trains avoid the issues of volatile fuel costs, never mind the certain scarcity of them in the near future. The fact that you can travel that great distance(almost coast to coast in the US) on a ticket costing you ~$140 it's remarkable in my opinion. How you get the power for these trains is a different subject matter and whether you want to argue about efficiencies between different modes of travel (train vs. airplane) is a completely different matter altogether too and don't be fooled, both modes have pros and cons. But I'd rather have a train network than the deteriorating road infrastructure we currently have. How long does it take to drive from coast to coast? How much would it cost you?
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 26, 2012
The US is still using the Imperial System of measurements, that's hilarious. Bullet trains are definitively not on the radar.
2.7 / 5 (9) Dec 27, 2012
China unveils a new bullet train.

U.S. goes over the fiscal cliff and back into Recession due to Republican refusals to raise taxes on the super-rich.

Sign of the times.
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 27, 2012
Is sad when i hear news like this and know that here in the US, speed trains are nowhere near the radar of anyone in congress.

The Rockefellers doesn't want it to happen.
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 27, 2012
Is sad when i hear news like this and know that here in the US, speed trains are nowhere near the radar of anyone in congress.

It's just tat the Rockefellers doesn't want it to happen. Making the Americans addicted to oil is the way to rule the country. High speed train was long ago invented in 1930 by George Bennie, but using electricity instead of oil prevents BP and Standard Oil from recycling their printed cash back... I'm sure other clean energy technologies are already invented but not available to the public for the same reason. The world should wake up.
3 / 5 (2) Dec 27, 2012
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2012
[Check] China unveils a new bullet train.

[Check] U.S. goes over the fiscal cliff and back into Recession due to Republican refusals to raise taxes on the super-rich.

Yeap, that about covers it; no... no.. wait it gets better, Republicans refuse to let there *even* be a vote.

2 / 5 (4) Dec 29, 2012
Anyone notice the pollution in the photo. Looks like a shot from Blade runner. I don't care if they have bullet trains.
All the really smart people will migrate to the US and places like Portland Oregon to have healthy children.
1 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2012
People in the US don't want trains because they are too slow, too expensive and don't go where the people want to go.
That must be why 'progressives' love trains, people don't like them, they are expensive and need massive govt support to operate.
BTW, anyone notice how many environmental regulations have been waived for the Calif. high speed rail to nowhere?
1 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2012
"Buyers' remorse for California's 'bullet train to nowhere'
California voters are experiencing buyers' remorse over a $68.4 billion (£44.4 billion) high speed rail project which critics say risks becoming a "bullet train to nowhere."

Construction is expected to begin later this year in the middle of California's Central Valley near Merced, a town of 80,000 people known for having one of the highest home foreclosure rates in America.

The plan calls for around 300 miles of track to be laid south from there over the next 10 years to reach the northern outskirts of Los Angeles. A northern link from the Central Valley to San Francisco would not be completed until 2028. "
2.9 / 5 (12) Dec 29, 2012
People in the US don't want trains because they are too slow, too expensive and don't go where the people want to go.

LOL, only in the US is this true.

"Hey lets fix something" - Sane Person
"NO!, It's BROKEN!" - Ryggesogn2
3.4 / 5 (13) Jan 02, 2013
China unveils a new bullet train.

U.S. goes over the fiscal cliff and back into Recession due to Republican refusals to raise taxes on the super-rich.

Sign of the times.
Well heres one from chicago to detroit

-Sadly it stops short of canada. But people up there have nowhere to go anyways, do they? They do like trains though...or at least the tracks eh?

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