China prepared to share high-speed rail expertise

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, July 3, 2010
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Rapid development at home

According to MOR Vice Minister Wang Zhiguo, by the end of 2012 China will have in place 13,000 kilometers of HS rail with a total railway mileage of 110,000 kilometers. A HS rail network featuring four horizontal and four vertical lines will take shape by then.

Further, construction funding is not a big concern. The HS rail projects enjoy strong government support. Public budget money, corporate financing and private investments combine to cover the huge initial expenses. Official statistics show the debt rate of the entire railway sector was 52% in 2009, which the MOR is confident it can manage .

Opened in December last year, the Wuhan-Guangzhou HS railway had 33 train services scheduled daily, with an average occupancy rate of 84%. The busiest day recorded 82,200 passengers. The new train was welcomed for being fast, safe and comfortable.

The operation of the Beijing-Tianjin inter-city railway, the first HS rail in China that allows a normal running speed of 250 km/h, showed its number of passengers fell below expectations. The authority said that was because connections with other railways and subways in the two connecting cities had yet to be completed.

The newly launched Shanghai-Nanjing HS railway is part of the 1,320-km Beijing-Shanghai HS railway, which is scheduled to begin operating in late 2011. Begun more than a decade ago, the project was the first HS rail plan in China, introducing experts and common citizens alike on the concept of HS trains, while triggering a long-standing debate on whether it was wise to construct a railway at huge cost and what sort of technology should be adopted. Although the project has lost the hope of being the first completed, it continues to enjoy the highest expectations, partly because it links the two most important Chinese cities. MOR sources say construction of the Beijing-Shanghai HS railway is continuing smoothly.

The expansion of HS railways is likely to reshuffle the game of mass transportation. Affected by the Zhengzhou-Xi'an HS trains, air flights between the two cities have been driven out of the market. However, the pressure of railway on other means of transport may not necessarily be negative. Thanks to the tourist boom in Tibet facilitated by the Qinghai-Tibet railway, passenger flights to the region reported a surge of 38%.

Competition may get tough, but each means of transport has its own room for survival. Road transport is best for door-to-door short distance service, whereas air travel is still the fastest, especially for long distances. Being fast, comfortable and all-weather operating, HS trains may be the best choice for traveling within a distance of 1,000 kilometers.

"The various modes of transport all have great market demands. All need to develop fast and further," said He Huawu.

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