High Speed Rail and it’s expansion in Modern China.

14 Feb

High speed rail is rapidly becoming one of the key features of Chinas development as a world superpower. Since it’s introduction in 2007 China’s high speed rail network now connects more than 100 Chinese cities with over 12,000 kilometers of line. 



China’s current rail expansion program is the fastest of its kind in the world and is without doubt contributing to it’s consistent growth rate due to traffic increases of 28% per year. HSR is now carrying twice the amount of passengers than that of the domestic airline industry. This bodes well for the environment due to it being six times as energy efficient as flying and 3 times as efficient (on average) to automotive travel. 


A new highly connected China would be and is hugely beneficial to business growth and productivity, to know that employees or customers are only a two hour train ride away boosts relationships and cuts down on time wastage. Gerald Ollivier is a senior transport specialist in Beijing, he comments by saying “What we see very clearly is a change in the way a lot of companies are doing business”. 


The HSR network has not been without its costs though; the Chinese government is due to spend $100 billion per year on the HSR program over the next several years, money that could arguably be spent on other things. Some also comment on the potential danger of HSR due to the horrific Wenzhou train collision in July of 2011 that killed 40 and injured 192. HSR is also regarded. On top of that the Chinese rail operator in charge of the HSR program is currently carrying around $500 billion in debt.


There is a large mix of points both for and against the HSR program in China but it is without doubt a feat of engineering brilliance that is at the forefront of transportation technology across the world. 







One Response to “High Speed Rail and it’s expansion in Modern China.”

  1. es17g11 February 14, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    You have commented that the money being spent on high-speed rail ($100 billion per year over several years) could be better spent. Do you think that it would be better spent by investing in broadband in China?

    China has more internet users than any other country in the world, yet its average internet speed of 1.5 Mbps is only the 98th fastest in the world, and below the world average of 2.6Mbps. For China to really secure its place in the global economy, it surely needs faster internet speeds than currently on offer.

    You also mentioned that high-speed rail will be greatly beneficial to business and also that it is a relatively ‘green’ investment compared to flying and automobile transport. Although I agree with this statement, surely an even greener alternative would be faster internet speeds that allows companies to conduct business via video link preventing anyone from having to travel at all, saving both the environment and time. These increased speeds should also increase productivity.

    As it happens, China’s State Council has identified their slow internet as a cause for concern and have a plan to improve this in stages. By 2015, they expect to have 50% of homes with fixed broadband coverage, and 2015 will also see the roll-out of fibre optic broadband. However the big push in China’s broadband will come between 2016-2020. By 2020, they plan to increase the average urban and rural broadband speeds to 50Mbps and 12Mbps respectively.


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