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China Transportation Technology

World's Longest High-Speed Rail Line Opens In China 322

An anonymous reader writes "Today China continued rolling out the future of high speed rail by officially unveiling the world's longest high-speed rail line — a 2,298-kilometer (1,428-mile) stretch of railway that connects Beijing in the north to Guangzhou in the south. The first trains on the new route hit 300 kph (186 mph), cutting travel time between the two cities by more than half."
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World's Longest High-Speed Rail Line Opens In China

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  • Re:Therewhile ... (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @03:56PM (#42397321)

    Our freight system is the best in the World, though. And if high speed passenger rail made sense, trust me, the railroads would be on it.

    If we had the population density to warrant such a passenger system to make it worth while, folks would be jumping on it.

    I'm all for rail and efficient transportation. Just because it is so in other areas doesn't mean it's appropriate for another. In other words, a high speed rail system in the US - for except maybe the Northeast - just doesn't make financial or environmental sense. It's a lose/lose proposition.

    Let's be smart about it.

  • Reference (Score:5, Informative)

    by PacRim Jim ( 812876 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @03:57PM (#42397339) Homepage
    For reference, that's about half the width of the U.S., or about the length of Japan.
  • Re:Therewhile ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @03:59PM (#42397349)

    We have the population density in some areas, yet it it still not built there. Much of Europe has similar densities yet damn near every town has a train station. Here in the Northeast many towns do not even have one in an hours drive.

    Buffalo to Toronto takes 4.5 hours. You claiming those places have to low a population density?

    Times to NY city are also insanely long.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:06PM (#42397437) Homepage

    There's already a high speed rail connection from Guangzhou to Shenzhen North. The high speed rail connection through to Hong Kong is scheduled for completion in 2014, and will shorten travel time for that last link from 2 hours to 38 minutes. (Except that there's a border control point between Shentzen and Hong Kong that takes longer than the travel time.)

    Another step has been taken in tying China more closely together. That's part of the political motivation. Traditionally, China's provinces were not closely connected. Each province was expected to be self-sufficient in food and other essentials. That continued through the Mao era, and it's not completely gone. There are still some inter-provincial trade restrictions.

    Of course, the South still speaks Cantonese, while the North speaks Mandarin. This despite half a century of effort by the central government. "The mountains are high and the Emperor is far away".

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:12PM (#42397491)

    So should we get rid of the interstates as well?
    What about airports? Should they all be closed for the same reason?

    I propose HSR not for any romantic notions, but because I have ridden it in Europe. I have been on the damn things and seen how well they work.

    How about you name a method of travel that meets those goals so we can compare it to HSR.

  • Re:Marketing (Score:5, Informative)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:28PM (#42397635)

    Yeah I donno about that. "My time" for the train is like 15 minutes to get aboard and literally 5 minutes to cross the street on the NYC side. "My time" for the airplane is a half hour out to the airport in the middle of nowhere and parking, two hours sitting around for security theater playtime, you can't do what you want on a plane so thats about two hours lost during flight time, and finally a nice $50 hour long cab ride on the NYC side, so that's like 5 hours of "my time" if flying.

    As for the restaurant, the amtrak food was "nice" sure not a $200 steak house but no worse than a family restaurant, and the cabin was comfortable enough to sleep in. I had a little sleeper cabin with desk, one entire wall is a giant window, and all that.

    Booze? Oh god yes. Some day you should take an observation car out west where the obs car has a bar in the middle of the top floor (the observation area). The west coast trains are double decker two floor and much nicer than the east coast single floor dumpy-trains. None the less booze is booze... Nicotine addicts would have serious issues with Amtrak, but the alkies will be just fine, well lubricated, whatever. Also if you have a cabin unless they're peeking in the windows you can drink or eat whatever you can haul aboard...

  • Re:Therewhile ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:33PM (#42397693)

    Amtrak top speeds is around 80mph. They are physically capable of going faster, but the cost (fuel) and the track conditions generally don't allow it.

    Amtrak trains are sidelined for any passing freight trains, and have to slow down to traverse sections of poor track, and towns. When Amtrak was conceived, it was supposed to have precedence over Freight. That lasted all of 12 minutes, before the railroad which "own" and maintain the track got Congress to strip that language.

    (I but "own" in quotes because in most cases, these railway right-of-ways were historically simply granted to the railroads for zero dollars.)

    Its cost prohibitive to build new railbeds today, due to the cost of land. This restriction doesn't apply in a command-economy such as China.

    The best that could be done would be to build high-speed passenger rail along the Interstate highway system right-of-way. Even this will never happen because its not perceived as important as dumping money down the social program rat hole. Small projects are underway, principally in California, but I suspect these will be gobbled up by freight or budget cuts long before they are completed.

    People should ride Amtrak. Its an enjoyable way to travel. Just don't go by train if you are in a hurry.

  • Re:Therewhile ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:40PM (#42397753)

    I ride trains when I am in Europe. In the USA it is not just that you have to be not in a hurry, but you have to be retired or independently wealthy. I just checked to visit my brother in TX, would take one overnight train to Chicago, a long layover, and another overnight train onward. So I am supposed to pay more than airplane tickets, and take two days?

    With the TSA now moving towards inspecting my testicles for train rides that slim advantage is also disappearing.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:50PM (#42397825)

    The interstate highway system is paid for by the federal government. $425 billion. Apparently the largest public works system since the pyramids. Why exactly Americans think of this as "a brilliant economic success" and state funded medicine as "socialist" the FSM only knows.

    Well actually we do know. Because that's how lobbyists chose to frame them.

  • Re:Therewhile ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:50PM (#42397827)

    Wow, already in the first couple sentences you are wrong.

    Look at the actual numbers, for population density then think about it again. France 303/sq mile vs NY state 412.3 inhabitants per square mile. Spain is even lower. Germany only slightly higher. We have states that have very comparable population rates and relatively few hub cities. NY state has only NYC, Buffalo, Rochester. Still there is no good rail travel between them. Those 3 cities hold almost the entire population of the state.

    Berlin is not even the biggest airport in Germany, much less some hub city. Way to piss off the entire Western and Southern parts of that country.

    China I cannot speak too.

    The USA has 60 Major metros, 90% of which don't even have subway systems and sure as hell could be linked with HSR to each other.

    Planes are heavily subsidized and burn fuel at rates that will not continue to be possible. The advantage is if we build HSR now we can still use it when we don't have the oil to spare for jets.

  • Re:Marketing (Score:4, Informative)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @05:04PM (#42398003)

    You could have hit the airport and been there in far less time. Leaving you time to eat at a nice restaurant and sleep in a hotel.

    Do they even have booze on Amtrack?

    Yes they do, and they also have a pretty good restaurant, and the hotel rooms, while small, are quite nice.

  • Re:Therewhile ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Meyaht ( 2729603 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @05:49PM (#42398431)

    ... It's just that the US has given up on improving its infrastructure.

    this bears repeating

  • by Smallpond ( 221300 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:57PM (#42399045) Homepage Journal

    The Acela cost ~$2B and generates $500M/year in revenue. Its been running since 1999 and is successful because it has downtown terminals in Boston, New York and Washington. Also because it runs on existing right-of-way with some track upgrades. Business class New York to Boston is $107 and takes 4 hours which is about the same time as air travel + 2 airport shuttles + groping. So if you choose the right location, it works. However, nothing I've seen about the California plan suggests they are choosing the right location.

  • Re:Marketing (Score:5, Informative)

    by NouberNou ( 1105915 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @08:52PM (#42400031)
    If it is anything like the Japanese HSR system these trains are in station for less than 2 minutes, usually around 90 seconds. There isn't a baggage car, no baggage offloading. You keep your bags with you at all times and when you get near your stop they announce it and you stand up and head to the doors. When the train stops you just get out (the platforms are level with the doors, so no hopping down awkwardness, its very quick. Then the train is off again. Since these are all EMU train sets that means they do not have a single engine, but powered bogies along the entire train. They can accelerate and decelerate very quickly.

    I think I read 35 stops on the route, if a train stops at every stop then that is roughly 70 minutes in station at 2 minutes a stop. So out of the 8 hour trip, thats 6 hours and 50 minutes you are moving, which means that the trains are going somewhere over 300km/h (336km/h to be exact). I doubt this is the actual speed, I am guess that the 8 hour trip is for express trains, which will skip some of the stops on the way, only stopping at major stations, while other trains will stop at all or more stations (this is how it works in Japan). That'd put the speed at around 280-300km/h which is about what Japanese systems run at.
  • Re:Reference (Score:5, Informative)

    by gsnedders ( 928327 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @09:50PM (#42400449) Homepage

    The TGV have had a grand total of zero fatalities on high speed lines in France since they opened in 1981, as a point of comparison.

  • Re:Therewhile ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by harley78 ( 746436 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @11:10PM (#42400959)
    ... It's just that the US has given up on improving its infrastructure. this bears repeating

Would you people stop playing these stupid games?!?!?!!!!