From National Pulic Radio:
Wuhan and Guangzhou are not close to each other. At all.
Workers are putting the finishing touches on a French-designed, glass-and-steel train station on the fringes of Wuhan, a major metropolis on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River in China.
Inside, the mostly middle-class passengers line up to board the high-speed train. It takes just three hours to cover the more than 600 miles to Guangzhou, China's third-largest city, in the heart of the industrialized Pearl River Delta. That's 10 hours less than the conventional train takes.
While the United States has allocated $13 billion for the construction of high-speed rail over the next five years, China plans to spend $300 billion in the next decade to build the world's most extensive and advanced high-speed rail network.
In the first-class section of the train to Guangzhou, where tickets cost upwards of $100 — almost double the price of second-class seats — real estate company manager Yang Tao and his wife have swiveled the seats in front of them around and put their feet up. He says he's willing to pay extra for a comfortable ride.
"My wife is afraid of flying," he says with a chuckle. "Taking this train is more convenient than going to the airport, with all the security checks. The flights are often delayed and the airlines' attitude is arrogant."
Onboard video screens show off the train's advanced features. In the dining car, passengers eat roast duck gizzards and spicy noodles and watch the terraced fields and factory towns of South China slip past their windows at speeds averaging around 220 mph.
By 2012, China plans to have almost three dozen high-speed rail lines crisscrossing the country. Nearly 130,000 workers are now building the Beijing-to-Shanghai line, which at $32 billion will be China's most expensive construction project ever. The frenzy of construction is at the heart of China's massive fiscal stimulus to revive the economy.Read On
Image from worldtravels.com
There is a high speed train in development between Xi'an and Beijing. The thirteen hour trip will be three or four after the train is built.
This high-speed train development is great. Chinese trains are so crowded now. Adding high-speed trains onto the already running trains is going to make train travel much easier throughout the country. Such development will also decrease dependency on air travel.
Reading about this project reminds me of what the film producer Bob Compton said to me a few months ago, "China's stimulus is building while America's is bailing." America, right now, can only dream of such projects (and honestly, most Americans don't even understand the value of getting away from our car culture). China is actually making their ambitious dreams a reality.