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High-Speed-Rails E-mail
News - China News
Written by ND
A new dedicated 968-kilometer high-speed rail line linking Wuhan, in the heart of central China, to Guangzhou, on the southeastern coast is coming. In test trials, the "WuGuang" trains (locally built variants of Japan's Shinkansen and Germany's ICE) clocked peak speeds of up to 394 km/h. They have also recorded an average speed of 312 km/h in nonstop runs four times daily since the WuGuang's December 26 launch, slashing travel time from Wuhan to Guangzhou from 10.5 hours to less than three.

WuGuang's speed blows away the reigning champion: France's TGV, which runs from Lorraine to Champagne and averages 272 km/h. It also bests China's first high-speed train, the Beijing-to-Tianjin trains that average 230 km/h, as well as Shanghai's magnetically levitated airport shuttle trains that can hit 430 km/h but average less than 251 km/h.

Rail experts say the builders of the new WuGuang line deserve more bragging rights than the trains' European and Japanese designers.

"The high-speed rail technology implemented in China is not that much different from the TGV, Germany's ICE, Spain's AVE, and the Shinkansen," says Rongfang Liu, a rail expert at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark. What is notable, she and others say, is that unlike many high-speed lines that repurpose older tracks, this one was designed from the ground up for very high-speed operation over hundreds of kilometers. Bridges and tunnels, as well as the concrete bed beneath the track, have been designed to safely rocket passengers around, through, or over the natural and man-made obstacles that would otherwise force the trains to slow down.

Plenty more speedy lines are coming in China under an ambitious build-out initiated in 2006 by China's Ministry of Railways, and accelerated with government stimulus funds. A two-trillion-yuan ($293 billion) plan envisions 16,000 kilometers of dedicated high-speed rail lines connecting all of China's major cities by 2020.

The first East-West segment--a link from Xi'an to Zhengzhou--could begin operating as early as this month, and work is underway to extend the Beijing-Tianjin line southward to Shanghai by 2012. WuGuang, meanwhile, is expected to expand northward to Beijing and South to Hong Kong by 2013. "Over the next five years there'll be more high-speed rail added in China than the rest of the world combined," says Keith Dierkx, director of IBM's Beijing-based Global Rail Innovation Center.

High-speed rail is seen as a clean way to boost the expansion of China's transportation system, according to Dierkx. Dedicated lines will help meet rail demand, which is expected to more than triple to five billion passengers per year by 2020. And building these lines is seen as preferable to further expanding reliance on imported oil for automobiles and airplanes. Dierkx says dedicated high-speed rail should also improve freight transportation by easing congestion on conventional rail lines.

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Our valuable Editor ND has been with us since Monday, 15 June 2009.

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0 #1 baisha_non 2010-01-28 21:05
The speed record must be seen very relatively. A high speed train needs straight lines to reach its max. speed. In totalitarian countries like China where the government just flatten whole areas and moves whole villages without any hesitation and concern about villagers, people and nature it is easy to build a linear line to enable the train to reach its max. speed for a long period. In non-totalitarian countries like in europe high speed rail routes cannot build so easily. nature, human rights must be considered and there governments cannot just walk over peoples home for their high-speed ambitions and rightly so. i prefer a TGV with an average of 280 than a "going over graves" chinese copy at an average of 312. There is no "record" in it at all. Ask the tens of thousands of villagers who lost their homes.

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