About 10 years ago, my wife and I took the High-Speed train from Beijing city center to Shanghai city center. The 1,214 km journey took us about 3.5 hours. I think it is faster than going by airplane. After this wonderful experience, I did some research to write this article to benefit more people.
According to the International Association of Railways (UIC), high-speed rail is eight times more energy efficient than airplanes and four times more efficient than automobile use. It will also decrease greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.
The high-speed rail (HSR) network in the People's Republic of China (PRC) is the world's longest and most extensively used – with a total length of 40,000 kilometres (25,000 mi) by the end of 2021. The HSR network encompasses newly built rail lines with a design speed of 200–350 km/h (120–220 mph). China's HSR accounts for two-thirds of the world's total high-speed railway networks. Almost all HSR trains, track and service are owned and operated by the China Railway Corporation under the brand China Railway High-speed (CRH).
High-speed rail developed rapidly in China since the mid-2000s. CRH was introduced in April 2007 and the Beijing-Tianjin intercity rail, which opened in August 2008, was the first passenger dedicated HSR line. Currently, the HSR extends to all provincial-level administrative divisions and Hong Kong SAR, with the exception of Macau SAR. The HSR network reached just under 38,000 km (24,000 mi) in total length by the end of 2020. The HSR building boom continues with the HSR network set to reach 70,000 km (43,000 mi) in 2035.
The map below shows the rate of construction of HSR from 2008 -2020 in China.
China's early high-speed trains were imported or built under technology transfer agreements with foreign train-makers including Alstom, Siemens, Bombardier and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. After the initial technological support, Chinese engineers have since re-designed internal train components and have built and produced indigenous trains manufactured by the state-owned CRRC Corporation, especially on newer lines. The advent of high-speed rail in China has greatly reduced travel time and has transformed Chinese society and economy. A World Bank study found "a broad range of travelers of different income levels choose HSR for its comfort, convenience, safety and punctuality."
Despite worries about its cost, debt and profitability, a Paulson Institute research found that the net benefit of the high-speed rail is $378 billion and the return on investment is 6.5%. The return on investment would be much more if the saving of train users’ time and energy are taken into consideration.
Notable HSR lines in China include the Beijing–Guangzhou high-speed railway which at 2,298 km (1,428 mi) is the world's longest HSR line in operation, and the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway with the world's fastest operating conventional train services. The Shanghai Maglev is the world's first high-speed commercial magnetic levitation ("maglev") line, whose trains run on non-conventional track and reach a top speed of 430 km/h (267 mph). In 2020, China started testing a maglev prototype train that runs at 600 km/h (373 mph) and planned a 2025 launch date.
The Kuala Lumpur–Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) is a cancelled railway project to link Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Singapore via a high-speed rail line. It was first proposed by then Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak in September 2010. Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong formally agreed to the joint project in February 2013, with the HSR originally expected to be completed by 2026.
The 2018 Malaysian general election resulted in the defeat of Najib Razak, with his successor Mahathir Mohamad initially announcing that the project would be scrapped. Nevertheless, during a visit to Japan on 12 June 2018, Mahathir said that the project would merely be postponed due to high costs. On 5 September 2018, it was announced that the HSR operations would start in January 2031.
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