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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @03:44PM (#42397203)

    ...the United States has the longest Slow Speed rail lines of the world.

    • by webmistressrachel ( 903577 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @03:51PM (#42397277) Journal

      And the United Kingdom has the slowest Slow Speed rail lines in the world... we even had a name for it given by the staff of the state operator.

      It's called British Rail Time - around rnd*9 hours behind GMT (or BST), whichever is currently operating. The only timezone in the world defined in pseudocode.

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

        by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @03:56PM (#42397327)

        Still faster than 90% of Amtrack.

        To go from Buffalo NY to Toronto Canada by car takes about 1.44 hours, by train it takes 4.5 hours. As a trip I make on a fairly regular basis for pleasure it would be great to be able to avoid driving as I do not need a car once I arrive. Wasting half of a day of vacation on a train is not something I intend to do.

        • 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.

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

            by Dan667 ( 564390 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:01PM (#42398537)
            you mean, dumping money down the drain on unneeded big ticket military contracts that often the military does not even want.
          • Actually the Amtrak 'Metroliner' hits 140mph from New York to Washington, DC, and their somewhat more fancy Acela line does a bit more than that (and stops less often). It's not great but for that short stretch it's fairly modern train.
        • Not to mention train tickets are usually the same, if not higher, than a plane ticket... There's no food on the train. If you're not used to riding the train, it's pretty confusing. You're basically left to your own devices to figure out which train you need to get on, where to get off, and then navigate the tourist trap they call a train station. Not that the airports much better, but the few times I've taken the train I've not been impressed at all. It'd been cheaper, faster and more comfortable to drive

          • by Meyaht ( 2729603 )

            ... There's AN ENTIRE DINING CAR WORTH OF food on the train.....


          • No food on the train? Maybe things have changed since my last trip, but I've *never* been on a train (other than a commuter) that didn't have a dining car, and the food is typically far better than anything on a plane (though in fairness high altitude really messes with your sense of taste). You just don't get that tiny packet of 5 peanuts and a shot glass worth of soda delivered to your seat.

        • by bmo ( 77928 )

          >To go from Buffalo NY to Toronto Canada by car takes about 1.44 hours,

          On what planet?

          The 401 is nearly impassible if you don't get your butt on the highway from the Peace Bridge before 4AM.

          1.44 hours from the Peace Bridge only happens if you happen to hit that magical time of the day when traffic is light, and that is generally "before the Devil gets his shoes on."

          >by train is 4.5 hours
          >As if you can take the train directly from the Peace Bridge to Union Station.

          1. Amtrak doesn't operat

          • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

            I do it pretty regularly. You don't have to take the peace bridge you know. Actually you keep taking it, leaves the other bridges free for me.

            1. No but it offers connections.
            2. Amtrack website disagrees
            3. It is not that much fun.
            4. I do usually get a hotel outside of town and take the train in. Driving in Toronto is a total shitshow.

        • I'm not familiar with that trip, but it has to be some kind of an edge condition. Out of interest I looked it up on Amtrak's site and it's two trains. (Does Amtrak even operate in Canada?)

          Nevertheless, for the trips I take, Amtrak is much faster and far more enjoyable. I take the train when I'm going from Philadelphia to New York, Washington DC, or occasionally Boston.

          * By the time I've fought with traffic around NYC, or made the detour, or fought with traffic around DC, the train has already arrived.
          * Oh,

    • by poity ( 465672 )

      It's not so stark a contrast when you consider how cheap it is to travel by plane inside the US. My friends and relatives in China are surprised at how inexpensive a plane ticket is here.

      Consider the reported lowest priced Economy class seats on the new Beijing-Guangzhou (around 2000km) high speed line is RMB 895, [] and that Beijing's and Guanzhou's average wages are around RMB 60k [], that means the cost of a one-way trip is around 1.5% of yearly income. Now, the lowest cost of a similar one-way flight in the U

  • 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.
  • Catan (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @03:59PM (#42397351)

    I guess China has cemented their hold on the card for The Longest Road now...

    While I'm here, does anyone care to trade wood for sheep?

    • No. They tied it. China, long a sleeper in technology is now siding with the West in new developments. This will signal a switch to new railroad advances.

    • Don't worry, the U.S. will always make sure to spend all of our ore, sheep, and grain (working from memory here) to make sure that we maintain our hold on the Largest Army card.

  • Train Wreck (Score:2, Interesting)

    by na1led ( 1030470 )
    What would a Train Wreck at 186 MPH in a densely populated area look like?
    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      What would an airplane crash look like?

      Heavy thing going fast can indeed lead to trouble, no point in worrying about just this one.

  • 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 Edsj ( 1972476 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @04:15PM (#42397517)
    Because their high-speed trains had an accident not so long ago [] and the goverment tried to cover up.

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