China looks on schedule to officially launch what is said to be the world’s longest single high speed rail, according to the People’s Daily. This bullet train line, which will link Beijing and Shanghai with trains that travel up to 186 miles per hour, was undergoing final tests just last month.
The 819 mile route, according to Chinese government officials, will have 90 trains running on it daily. It is said one of these high speed trains, traveling at top speeds, can make the journey between the two major cities in 4 hours and 48 minutes. This is seen as a significant improvement over the current travel time of around 10 hours. Plans originally called for trains up to 217 miles per hour, but those were ultimately abandoned over potential safety issues.
The build out of this green technology wonder certainly was not a cheap affair by any stretch of the imagination. The total cost of the project is said to be around $339.5 million. Ticket costs for seating on one of these high speed rail trains will range from $63 to $270 dollars, likely depending upon which train is taken (some travel at slightly slower speeds) and what class of service traveled in.
China said as well of its future railway plans that it hopes to have over 18,600 miles of new track laid down by 2015. Total investment in railways reportedly “during the coming five years is put at 2.8 trillion yuan ($430 billion), an increase of 41.5 percent from 2006-2010.”
Also of note here is a quote from Yu Bangli, chief economist with the railways ministry, who told People’s Daily that “although financing for railways, like that for other industries, is subject to the impact of the macro-economic environment, ‘funds for railways can be guaranteed.” That’s something for us Americans to chew on as we climb behind the wheels of our cars for another two hour commute to work.
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