China Unveils the Fastest Train in the World

The fastest train in the world is now crossing the 663 miles between Wuhan to Guangzhou in less than three hours. With an average running speed of 217 miles per hour, the train makes the usual 6-hour trip from central China to southern China in only 2 hours, 45 minutes. That’s roughly the same amount of time it takes Americans to get from the Bronx to Coney Island on New York City’s MTA.

China’s trains are being designed and manufactured by Siemens, Alstom, and Bombardier as part of the government’s $300 billion project to develop a nationwide network of passenger railways, a project that includes the acquisition of 80 extremely fast trains. Although the price of a ticket on the trains will be almost five times the price of the seats on the slower trains currently being used, economists are still worried that the pricetag of the project will be overwhelming and China will not be able to recoup the costs.

China’s railway service for the new trains goes through 20 cities, traveling through areas that connect central China with less industrially developed regions all the way to the Pearl River Delhi. In its first trial runs in early December, the train topped out at an impressive 350 kilometers per hour. The average running speed for the regular train routes will be about 315 kilometers per hour, but that speed is still much faster than any of the other high-speed trains currently running around the world. German’s high-speed rail system runs at about 232 kilometers per hour; Japan’s system runs at approximately 243 kilometers per hour; and France’s high-speed railway system runs at about 277 kilometers per hour.

The massive development program China has launched will expand the current high-speed railway service to include 42 additional high-speed lines over the next two years. The government has high expectations that the new rail lines will help boost economic growth, particularly in regions that are less developed. Although increased development may not be favorable to some people, there is a positive aspect in the fact that rail service is a low carbon transportation alternative for mass transit.

The average speed of passenger trains in the United States lags far behind in the high-speed rail competition, at only 70 miles per hour. If the US were to initiate a high-speed train option such as the ones China and other countries are using, Americans could travel from Chicago to New York City in about 3.5 hours - without having to deal with airports and the hassle of flying - and the carbon footprint would be dramatically reduced as a result. Say what you will about China slowly trying to achieve world domination; thanks to their new high-speed rail system, those attempts may be speeding up.


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