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In Chinas High-Speed Successes, a Glimpse of American Difficulties

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-06-11 06:23 PM
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from the Transport Politic blog:

In Chinas High-Speed Successes, a Glimpse of American Difficulties

The opening of the new $32.5 billion Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail link this week marked a significant milestone in the world effort to improve intercity rail systems. Though the development of fast train networks in China has not been without its failings, the connection of the nations two largest metropolitan regions the tenth and nineteenth-largest in the world is a human achievement of almost unparalleled proportions, especially since it was completed a year earlier than originally planned and just three years after construction began. It comes as the Chinese government celebrates its 90th anniversary.

With ninety daily trains traveling the 819-mile link at average speeds of up to 165 mph, the corridor will likely soon become the most-used high-speed intercity rail connection in the world. Because of safety concerns, the quickest journey between travel endpoints will take 4h48, more than the four hours originally proposed. But that will still be more than twice as fast as the existing trip by train and about as quick as the air trip when including check-in times and the journey to and from the airport. So from the perspective of intercity mobility, the rail link will be a huge improvement. The fact that trains stop in the major cities of Tianjin, Jinan, Xuzhou, Bengu, and Nanjing (among many others) and that they free up capacity on the older line for freight use only improves matters.

China is in a stage of its economic progress that makes great works such as this high-speed system more feasible than similar works in more developed countries like the United States. While the comparison between the Beijing-Shanghai link and the New York-Chicago connection is hard not to make each would serve resident populations of about sixty million along corridors of roughly 1,000 miles their respective political contexts differentiate them to such a degree that makes them almost impossible to compare.

Some Americans may dismiss the Chinese achievement, suggesting that the systems construction by a single-party government with authoritarian tendencies makes it in itself suspect. One of the great things about the American political system is that it attempts to respond to the demands of the citizenry. The defeat of several Democratic governors in last falls elections reflected on some degree of disenchantment with the Democratic Party in general, but in three cases Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin the GOPs open opposition to intercity rail projects there clearly played a role in convincing voters, who evidently agreed with the anti-rail sentiment, to throw out Democrats. In some ways, it is a reflection on a successful democracy that the rail projects in those places were cancelled, whatever their technical merit. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: /

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nxylas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-11 10:19 AM
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1. And this is from a country that was still using steam trains a decade ago
But of course they're just foreigners. America's lack of high-speed rail just shows how special it is, or something.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-11-11 10:50 PM
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2. The irony is that it is OUR money they are spending on all of these great projects
While we cannot scrape together the two nickels it would cost to keep social security going, let alone fund an actual high speed rail system, the Chinese and India are using OUR money to build fantastic mansions, amazing public works projects, high speed trains (that are actually high speed, not the 120 mph losers we are planning).

I wish people would think about that the next time they choose what to buy. Either no-name cheap crap made in China that will break within months or high quality goods made by hard working American UNION workers that will last till you pass it down to your grandchildren.

Case in point, I went looking for a wall clock for the entry hall but could only find cheap plastic or fiber board clocks made in China. I walked out of the store after putting back everything I'd collected in my cart. My fellow Americans, we need to BUY AMERICAN or there will be no America. So now my plan is to use a broken wall clock that has been in storage for a few years, buy the clock works (hope it's not made in China) and put it together again. It's a little too ornamental looking for what I wanted (just a simple clock so one could tell what time it is as they left out the door) but it's better than buying a piece of junk and promoting the wholesale transfer of jobs overseas.
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