• China to Open World's Longest HSR

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by jstolberg
 
China is set to open a 2,298-km high-speed railway line, the world's longest, in about two weeks, linking the capital city with the country's trading hub of Guangzhou, authorities announced today.
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/china ... e/1045400/

Running time will be about 8 hours. That's 1427 miles, about the distance from Boston to Kansas City or West Palm Beach.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
It's a done deal reports The New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/27/busin ... china.html

I defer to others for the "why can't we do it here" drill - especially when every new or expanded Amtrak route opened during the Obama presidency has clearly enjoyed strong public acceptance.
  by lpetrich
 
World's Longest High-Speed Rail Line Opens in China - NYTimes.com
The Beijing - Shijiazhuang - Zhengzhou dedicated high-speed line is now open, adding to Zhengzhou - Wuhan 3 months ago, Wuhan - Guangzhou 3 years ago, and Guangzhou - Shenzhen a year ago. This is 2203 km / 1307 mi of high-speed line. The remaining bit of line is Shenzhen - Hong Kong, about 26 km / 16 mi, and that's due in 2016.

This line lowers Beijing - Hong Kong rail travel time from the older-track 21 hours to about 8 hours.

Some Google-Maps highway distances for comparison:
NYC - Miami: 1281 mi
NYC - Omaha, NE: 1245 mi
Chicago - Corpus Christi, TX: 1291 mi
Seattle - San Diego: 1256 mi
London - Rome: 1154 mi
Paris - Kiev: 1487 mi

High-speed rail in China - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - lists what's active and what's under construction
High-speed rail - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - has HSR maps of the western and eastern ends of Eurasia

I also wish to note High Speed Rail Canada - Blog - Le Train à grande vitesse au Canada: Spectacular Photo of China High Speed Trains in Maintenance Yard
  by lpetrich
 
Although Europeans are no slouches in HSR, they've taken over 30 years to build routes with similar length, and there are still some gaps:

Google Maps highway distance:
  • London - Sevilla, Spain: 2178 km / 1354 mi
  • Amsterdam - Sevilla, Spain: 2234 km / 138 mi
  • London - Naples: 1276 mi / 2054 km
Segments with opening times:
  • London - 2007 - Ebbsfleet - 2003 - Chunnel - 1994 - Lille
  • Amsterdam - 2009 - Antwerp - ? - Brussels - 1993 - Lille
  • Lille - 1993 - Paris - 1981 - Lyon
  • Lyon - 1992 - Valence - 2001 - Nîmes - (2017) - Montpellier - ? - Perpignan - 2010 - Figueres - (2013) - Barcelona - 2008 - Tarragona - 2005 - Lleida - 2003 - Madrid - 1992 - Sevilla
  • Lyon - ? - Turin - 2006 - Novara - 2009 - Milan - 2008 - Bologna - 2009 - Florence - 1978 - Rome - 2005 - Gricignano - 2009 - Naples
  by SouthernRailway
 
I read in yesterday's New York Times that China has spent $640 billion on construction of its HSR lines in the past few years.

I'm all for HSR...but $640 billion is pretty hard to justify.
  by djlong
 
Not hard to justify when you look at the thousands upon thousands of miles of HSR lines they built - all within the PAST FIVE YEARS.
  by SouthernRailway
 
djlong wrote:Not hard to justify when you look at the thousands upon thousands of miles of HSR lines they built - all within the PAST FIVE YEARS.
Sorry, but I can't agree. I see that Chinese HSR loses so much money that it can't repay even the principal of the loans extended to build those HSR lines.

For all of Amtrak's flaws, it's forced to be efficient due to the significant constraints around it, and so its financial position, by passenger railroad standards, is pretty good. When a non-democratic government with few constraints builds anything- HSR or otherwise- it's bound to be less efficient and less responsive to the public. Not good.
  by trainmaster611
 
I don't think that financial self-sufficiency should be an end unto itself. The primary goal of public transportation should be providing a public good. Financial efficiency should only be treated as important as is reasonably necessary, namely to prevent it from becoming a bigger social and economic drag on society than it would be a benefit. I'd rather have a great transit system that covers 50% of its costs than a scant mediocre transit system that covers 90% of its costs.

On the other hand, you can't just spend for the sake of spending. $640 billion in HSR construction is not something to strive for just because it's HSR (nor do I think anyone in the US has delusions that such expenditures are not incredibly extravagant). Identify corridors where it's actually needed and spend the money there. Don't build vanity lines whether it's HSR between Sacramento and Eugene or a subway out into the suburbs.
  by SouthernRailway
 
trainmaster611 wrote:I don't think that financial self-sufficiency should be an end unto itself. ...[but] Don't build vanity lines whether it's HSR between Sacramento and Eugene or a subway out into the suburbs.
Of course, financial self-sufficiency shouldn't be and end until itself. Amtrak certainly isn't self-sufficient. The issue is, "should HSR be built anywhere and everywhere, or should it be built only where it is able to attract some minimum amount of ridership and revenues (which don't need to cover all of its costs)?"

In the US, we build passenger rail that's not self-sufficient, although passenger rail is generally built only where it can attract enough revenues to cover at least a decent portion of its costs, indicating that our passenger rail lines are built where there is enough ridership demand to make it worthwhile.

In China, the amounts being spent are so high, and the revenues being earned are so low, that I'd be tempted to put some Chinese HSR lines in the category of "vanity lines", like a subway to a distant suburb that doesn't really provide public benefits to make the projects worthwhile.

Would we build an Acela Express across Montana? No. Perhaps China would, though.
  by morris&essex4ever
 
SouthernRailway wrote:
trainmaster611 wrote:I don't think that financial self-sufficiency should be an end unto itself. ...[but] Don't build vanity lines whether it's HSR between Sacramento and Eugene or a subway out into the suburbs.
Of course, financial self-sufficiency shouldn't be and end until itself. Amtrak certainly isn't self-sufficient. The issue is, "should HSR be built anywhere and everywhere, or should it be built only where it is able to attract some minimum amount of ridership and revenues (which don't need to cover all of its costs)?"

In the US, we build passenger rail that's not self-sufficient, although passenger rail is generally built only where it can attract enough revenues to cover at least a decent portion of its costs, indicating that our passenger rail lines are built where there is enough ridership demand to make it worthwhile.

In China, the amounts being spent are so high, and the revenues being earned are so low, that I'd be tempted to put some Chinese HSR lines in the category of "vanity lines", like a subway to a distant suburb that doesn't really provide public benefits to make the projects worthwhile.

Would we build an Acela Express across Montana? No. Perhaps China would, though.
I agree with you Southern. It seems like some of China's HSR lines are just built for the sake of being built and not in places where there can be a ridership to justify the costs. How many working class Chinese people can afford the high ticket prices? Not to mention we have no idea how safe China's HSR system is and how long it'll last.
  by CComMack
 
One major factor in China's HSR program is the relatively small commercial aviation infrastructure existing in China today, as compared to the US, or even Europe. China may very well not have the ability to scale its aviation sector up to handle its population; or, given their current safety record, may simply not wish to take the risks in doing so. At the very least, it may be just as astronomically expensive as building out HSR. (Of course, as demonstrated, their railway sector has safety issues of its own...)
  by n2cbo
 
CComMack wrote:One major factor in China's HSR program is the relatively small commercial aviation infrastructure existing in China today, as compared to the US, or even Europe. China may very well not have the ability to scale its aviation sector up to handle its population; or, given their current safety record, may simply not wish to take the risks in doing so. At the very least, it may be just as astronomically expensive as building out HSR. (Of course, as demonstrated, their railway sector has safety issues of its own...)
In 1991 I traveled domestically in China by both air and rail. The By air segment had me "Kissing the Ground" when I got off the plane. The Rail segment felt MUCH safer, and to boot it was STEAM !!! I don't know how it is now, but back then I swore I would NEVER AGAIN travel by air inside China!!!
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
CNN courtesy of Microsoft

Fair Use:
At the beginning of the 21st century China had no high-speed railways.

Slow and often uncomfortable trains plodded across this vast country, with low average speeds making journeys such as Shanghai-Beijing a test of travel endurance.

Today, it's a completely different picture. The world's most populous nation has -- by some distance -- the world's largest network of high-speed railways.

No fewer than 37,900 kilometers (about 23,500 miles) of lines crisscross the country, linking all of its major mega-city clusters, and all have been completed since 2008.

Half of that total has been completed in the last five years alone, with a further 3,700 kilometers due to open in the coming months of 2021.

The network is expected to double in length again, to 70,000 kilometers, by 2035.

With maximum speeds of 350 kph (217 mph) on many lines, intercity travel has been transformed and the dominance of airlines has been broken on the busiest routes.

By 2020, 75% of Chinese cities with a population of 500,000 or more had a high-speed rail ink.
This CNN story likely does not break ground for those who follow China's rail affairs, but for the "rest of us", an eye opener.

The cry will go up "why can't the USA have same?"; I'm afraid the US has the wrong kind of government, and presently such a divided populace, to ever see such a "top down" initiative to build such.
  by eolesen
 
It's easy to mandate a preferred mode of transportation when you don't let your citizens make decisions for themselves... That's part of why car ownership in China is so low -- only 200 per 1000 citizens, and there are >600M people living densely packed in cities where you can easily take advantage of those trains.
  by David Benton
 
If that was the case, why bother with HSR? Why doesn't the govt just force them to ride the normal slow trains?
Clearly they do have a choice to take HSR, something many in other countries such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand, don't.