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China To Connect Its High-Speed Rail To Europe

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the time-for-several-murders dept.

Transportation 691

MikeChino sends in this excerpt from Inhabitat: "China already has the most advanced and extensive high-speed rail lines in the world, and soon that network will be connected all the way to Europe and the UK. With initial negotiations and surveys already complete, China is now making plans to connect its HSR line through 17 other countries in Asia and Eastern Europe in order to connect to the existing infrastructure in the EU. Additional rail lines will also be built into South East Asia as well as Russia, in what will likely become the largest infrastructure project in history." They hope to get it done within 10 years, with China providing the financing in exchange for raw materials, in some cases.

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691 comments

A high speed railway (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489434)

Through some of the most politically unstable regions of the world. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:A high speed railway (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489520)

most likely for cargo. china makes stuff and would like to see it shipped to end customers faster.

Re:A high speed railway (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489650)

Sorry, you made a typo. You obviously meant to write, "china makes shit and would like to see it shipped to end customers faster."

Re:A high speed railway (5, Interesting)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489850)

sorry, you made a type. You obviously meant to write, "china makes shit that everyone else in the world buys by the ton, likely because the rest of the world is incapable of making the same shit themselves for similar cost, and china would like to see it shipped to end customers faster."

putting hateful words in the mouths of others is something only an asshole would do.

Re:A high speed railway (5, Insightful)

ndogg (158021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489558)

More trade, which then possibly leads to more stability. History has shown that economic interdependence helps to foster peaceful, albeit sometimes tense, negotiations. It's the only reasonable hope we humans have to world peace. It's not the lovey-dovey ideal peace, but it's something.

The only thing we need to worry about in this equation is religious nutbags that won't listen to reason.

Re:A high speed railway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489756)

That worked out real fucking well in WWII.

Re:A high speed railway (2, Informative)

Ricwot (632038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489938)

Sure, during the worst economic crisis the world has known when nearly every country in the world had tariffs which stopped a lot of trade being viable. What exactly was Japan and Germany trading with the British Empire and the US at the time?

Re:A high speed railway (4, Interesting)

aaron alderman (1136207) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489764)

Religious nutbags become ineffectual when you introduce prosperity and equality to their followers at the expense of meddling, war and neocolonialism.

Re:A high speed railway (3, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489768)

More trade, which then possibly leads to more stability.

      No, you didn't read the article, did you? This isn't about trade. China is accepting raw materials from your country in exchange for being hooked up to this rail service. Consider it a giant straw through which China will suck up Asia and Europe's raw materials. China has been doing a lot of this bartering lately - avoiding paying cash for things in exchange for construction, trade contracts, or goods. Goodness knows they have the manpower.

Re:A high speed railway (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489776)

China has too much money and needs somewhere to put it.

Re:A high speed railway (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489816)

Not necessarily. They have too much labor and need to do something with all of those people, hence getting the resources from the other states and providing all the labor.

Re:A high speed railway (2, Informative)

Ricwot (632038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489962)

It's reasonably obvious why they'd want materials rather than our money. For years we've been taking all of this cool stuff from them, and sending them worthless bits of paper in return.
And recently every bank in the western world made the paper worth even less by printing more of it.

Re:A high speed railway (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31490014)

Which, if you think about it, is the same situation everybody else is in, too. It is the most obvious way in which capitalism, like every other system, has failed us: There's very obviously more to do than we have time for, yet we still have significant unemployment and waste an incredible amount of time on completely banal entertainment. The people who control the resources are so unimaginative that they prefer to waste human productivity instead of working on ways we can move forward as a society. On the other hand, military spending, the global version of throwing in windows to boost the economy, is up. The rich work on getting more power, but they never do anything with that power, except using it to get more.

Re:A high speed railway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489878)

This guy knows whats going on. People don't work together because it's fun, they work together to get things accomplished. I'm a little worried about China being in control (who knows if or what they could do restrict it), but it is still better than not doing it.

Ironic... The Motor of the World being built by the Chinese : )

What unstable countries ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489564)

Lets see China + Kazackstan + Russia and ukraine... those are not bad!... they aint building it via iran iraq turkey afghanistan etc.!

Re:What unstable countries ? (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489706)

I have no idea how reliable it is, but this [cleantechnica.com] other article on the project says: "Its main connection to Europe would likely go through India, Pakistan and the Middle East."

Re:A high speed railway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489636)

Only in the US does the media appear to have citizens so afraid of terrorism, they dare not take trains or travel abroad like we used to. The perceived risk is much higher [google.com] than the actual risk, however. You statistically have more chance dying in a bathtub accident than of terrorism... but irrational fear rules human nature, it would seem.

Not so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489456)

Bullet train, as bullet-proof train.

This will be great for troop transport (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489468)

You know... after the Chinese army invades.

Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489500)

Actually, this is how they plan to deal with their sex ratio imbalance. They are cumming to steal ur yummy wimminz!

That is just really cool. (4, Interesting)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489478)

Even if it's high speed, I don't think that anyone will want to take the train from China to Europe. Maybe it's a bit of a vanity project. But you have to admit, it's pretty damn cool. I think it would make more sense if the rail connection were not high speed, since most of what's transported will be freight, and moving freight at 350k/h is a big waste of energy. But whatever, it's freaking cool!

Re:That is just really cool. (4, Informative)

Meshach (578918) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489538)

Even if it's high speed, I don't think that anyone will want to take the train from China to Europe.

From my read of the article this rail will be primarily used for manufacturing materials. The main goal is to make it easier for import/export to/from China not to make traveling easier.

Re:That is just really cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489694)

And to move troops around easily, no doubt.

Re:That is just really cool. (1)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489902)

It sounds strange to me... apart from the financial costs (building the railways means you have to borrow a lot of money and pay interest for it, or opportunity costs for not using it everywhere else), HSR is usually not a cheap transport medium. Usually the cheaper is ship, and only for expensive, urgent products (i.e. some kinds of food) is transported by plane. I cannot think of anything that is both so urgent and so massively produced that would justify this project (if you have any idea please tell me).

Re:That is just really cool. (4, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489700)

I don't think that anyone will want to take the train from China to Europe

Maybe not today, but in 30 or 40 years when dwindling oil makes the cost of air travel unsustainable? Absolutely people will be willing to take a fast train. Wouldn't surprise me if, in 100 years, there's a train over the Bering Straight linking Asia with North America. These Asian folks think long term, unlike short-sighted Western politicians.

That's what they said about the USSR (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489906)

These Asian folks think long term, unlike short-sighted Western politicians.

A lot of people said that about the USSR, but they were wrong. A politician is a politician, doesn't matter where, when, or under what circumstances, they all act the same.

I think it's doubtful we will ever see a rail over the Bering Straight. I don't think it could ever be a cost-effective alternative to aircraft and ships. That water is deep, it would be too expensive.

Re:That is just really cool. (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489790)

Even if it's high speed, I don't think that anyone will want to take the train from China to Europe.

That's probably true, but with so many stations in-between, nobody will have to.

Re:That is just really cool. (1)

chilvence (1210312) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489836)

I'd sooner go by rail than air anyday - I've been on too many planes, they never get any more comfortable. On the train you can put your feet back, relax, eat off a real table, sleep lying down, go for a stroll - the benefits far outweigh the trip time. Something like this railroad puts Beijing on my list of destinations that I would plan to visit casually once in my life, and hopefully works the other way round for people in China wanting to have a nosey around London.

I sense a deep wave of cynicism about the safety of traveling through central asia, but the majority of ordinary people don't wish harm on anyone. So there's a few loonies - so what? You have to live in spite of the gun toting loonies, not in fear of them... and more to the point, how do you think China would react if some merry band of robbers tried to mess with their pet project?

Re:That is just really cool. (5, Informative)

zondag (1114149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489896)

Even if it's high speed, I don't think that anyone will want to take the train from China to Europe.

You already can [wikipedia.org], though not high-speed. At the moment people take that train for the sake of the journey, not just to get from A to B.

Track width (3, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489482)

I wonder how the track width across different countries is going to work. If I remember correctly, that was a similar problem when connecting the UK to Europe. On the other hand, if this becomes cheap enough for car travel (which it probably already is), Eurasia might become a unified economic powerhouse over the next half century while the US will become a third world country (unless the US decides to invest in itself).

Re:Track width (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489576)

I wonder how the track width across different countries is going to work. If I remember correctly, that was a similar problem when connecting the UK to Europe. On the other hand, if this becomes cheap enough for car travel (which it probably already is), Eurasia might become a unified economic powerhouse over the next half century while the US will become a third world country (unless the US decides to invest in itself).

If you knew what a "third world country [wikipedia.org]" actually was, you would know that is quite impossible.

Re:Track width (3, Interesting)

longacre (1090157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489894)

while the US will become a third world country (unless the US decides to invest in itself).

Don't worry, the most expensive rail project in US history is well underway. New York City, with some help from the Federal government, is spending $18 billion to build an 8-mile subway line which does not even leave Manhattan. That $18 billion does not include the cost of initial planning which began about 80 years ago (seriously) nor the construction which began about 40 years ago (which was abandoned).

Jesus Christ we're screwed.

Never leaves manhattan... (4, Insightful)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489992)

...and will move more people than many continent spanning lines do. Sometimes it's not the size but what you do with it that counts!

Re:Track width (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31490006)

Because building a subway under one of the most densely populated cities is totally easy?

It's too bad we can't just grab all the Chinese in Chinatown and give them a few hundred dollars a month to construct our tunnel for us, yes, we're really screwed.

Re:Track width (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489604)

Eurasia might become a unified economic powerhouse over the next half century while the US will become a third world country (unless the US decides to invest in itself).

I wonder what the US boosters will have to say without their most basic "but the USA is a big country" line of defense.

Re:Track width (2, Interesting)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489742)

Invest in our infrastructure? That would be communism! You're not a communist, are you?

And yes, standard gauge is 4'8.5". US, UK, Australia, Canada, and China all use standard gauge, as well as most of Western Europe. Russia's gauge is 3" wider.

So they'd have a job on their hands to connect up with Europe. They may run a third rail through Russia that matches with one existing rail to form standard gauge (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_gauge [wikipedia.org]). Or they could just not connect to the Russian rail network and run all new tracks (maybe necessary for high-speed anyway).

They have quite a job on their hands, that's for sure.

Re:Track width (1)

_merlin (160982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489942)

Sadly, that isn't completely true in Australia. We use standard gauge in NSW, and for most interstate links, but Victoria and Tasmania use broad gauge, and Queensland and Western Australia use narrow gauge. Loading gauges are different, too: for example Victorian suburban trains have less width to the platform, but may bulge out over the platform and have protruding rearview mirrors, while NSW trains are wider to the platform but have flush vertical sides with only small protrusions.

Re:Track width (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489760)

I don't think it is a big deal to change trains when changing continents. You do that sometimes when transiting in aircraft anyway.

Multi-platform (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489786)

It sounds crazy, but it's certainly possible to build a train that can accommodate multiple track widths. Hell, it's been done before.

Re:Track width (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489916)

I wonder how the track width across different countries is going to work.
Actually track gauge is pretty standardised. Western Europe, china and the US are all dominated by "standard gauge" (4ft8.5in). Eastern Europe seems to be a mixture of standard gauge and Russian gauge

Given that both china and western europe use standard gauge I would expect this line to be standard gauge and any countries using something else will either just have to live with the new line being a different gauge from everything else or have their section of the new line laid in double gauge (however double gauge track increases costs significantly).

If I remember correctly, that was a similar problem when connecting the UK to Europe.
That was a loading gauge (the maximum dimensions of the train to safely traverse the line) issue. Normal European trains are too big to traverse British lines but the smaller Eurostar trains can run fine on both.

As shown by the Eurostar case loading gauge is less of an issue. You can design trains to run on the smallest loading gauge they will encounter and/or build new lines to the largest loading gauge of trains they will encounter.

Ka-boom! (-1, Flamebait)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489488)

Hope the passengers don't mind getting blowed up by terrorists.

Re:Ka-boom! (2, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489750)

Hope the passengers don't mind getting blowed up by terrorists.

Death by snu-snu? I wouldn't mind being "blowed" by an attractive terrorist.

US is in trouble (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489508)

So China is building infrastructure that will let them transport goods throughout Asia and Europe very quickly and cheaply. Meanwhile, here in the US, people are fighting against the idea of building highspeed rail even between a handful of cities that are right next to each other.

If we don't turn it around, our economy is going down the tubes.

Re:US is in trouble (2, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489616)

Actually boats are WAY more economical and with polar ice melts the northern passage is now open enough of the year to be economically viable. If you need very fast transport when the northern passage is available there's always airplane (Ford was flying engines from Cleveland to an assembly plant in Canada so it can be doable for items with a high enough value add).

Re:US is in trouble (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#31490054)

Try shipping something in mass quantities from NYC to Denver.

In this case, boats are absurd, planes are expensive and trains are slow.

$10 says they go for trains.

Re:US is in trouble (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489682)

The high speed rail nets in the US are not for freight, but for passengers. The costs and volumes of passengers for the routes don't make sense.

Re:US is in trouble (1)

mcfedr (1081629) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489984)

Surely if you build a railway from san fransico to new york, and its a 3 hour journey, the only non cost effective part is that the airlines lobbying your government lose all their business and that it would take some investment, without short term profits, which is lets face it, all that matters these days...

Re:US is in trouble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489702)

our economy is going down the tubes.

That's e-commerce for you.

Re:US is in trouble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489752)

but you don't understand how 'merica works! We know how to drive you know? Don't need no commie guberment rail road rather than good old detroit muscle.

Say, could you pass me another Natty light while you're up?

Re:US is in trouble (2, Insightful)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489806)

We aren't even at the level of efficient high speed rail project designs. The plans in California are idiotically circuitous and discontinuous. We see such projects as opportunities to scam state and federal treasuries, not as useful and durable infrastructure to evolve and develop our economy. Soon Chinese media will be talking about us as an incompetent, backward, authoritarian Third World oligarchy.

Are we just going to let that happen? [That's a rhetorical question, BTW]

Re:US is in trouble (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489920)

You don't transport goods on high speed rail. And why anyone would want to take a train through some of the most unstable countries in the world is beyond me. Sounds like a terrible waste of money. You talk about the US doing it but do you have ANY concept on how much high speed rail costs to build in the US? The high speed rail being built between Detroit and Chicago will cost over $2billion, the cost to build a line from LA to NY would be multiple trillions, guessing I would say 6-8 Trillion dollars. For that money we could buy everyone in the US a plane ticket and make planes the burn pure corn oil and still save trillions.

High speed rail is a non-starter in the US, construction costs are massive and the property costs even more. High speed rail works in much of europe because the lines are built on fairly flat plains (with only major cities connected and short distances between) with a few tunnels through the alps but the topography and distances in the US make high speed rail vastly uneconomical, in fact for freight it would be far cheaper to load it on a boat and sail it around the continent. Planes moving passengers around the US are hundreds of times cheaper both in cost to operate and cost to construct. Planes also need far less maintenance. Do you have any idea how much money the spend in Europe to maintain those high speed rail lines per mile? High speed rail makes sense in Europe for precisely the same reasons it doesn't make sense in the US. There are large cities fairly close together such that air travel doesn't make much sense in that the delays to take off and land are easily bypassed with rail. Those same short distances make maintenance cheaper and travel times quicker by rail and many of the large cities are constructed in the plains near the coast, the large inland cities are limited and easily connected to. The distance between major cities in the US can easily exceed the largest separation in Europe.

It immensely frustrating to compare the US and Europe transportation networks with such a broad stroke. There are many many factors why the US doesn't have workable high speed rail and most of it is geographic. Had high speed rail been economical the major rail companies would have built the lines themselves. Even as it is the only Amtrak lines in the US that are profitable are a couple short connections on the east coast. The rest of Amtrak's operations lose 2 billion a year. High Speed rail would only exacerbate those losses. Unless you are willing to double or triple your taxes don't suggest High speed rail in the US, it's simply not economical at our geographic scale.

Re:US is in trouble (4, Interesting)

TikiTDO (759782) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489986)

Sorry to say, your economy has already gone down the tubes, spent some time in the sewer, and is now resisting any attempt to scrub it clean by any means necessary. You have a sizable population against bank reform, even more against providing basic health care, insane unemployment, an entity composed of a slew of political parties too busy trying to resolve internal conflicts to notice the huge problems, and another political party so spoiled by a decade of near absolute power and focused on the short term that they do not see the huge wall as the nation hurls towards it like... Well... A train on high speed rail. Something that, as you pointed out, is also being resisted tooth and nail.

So no, the US is not in trouble. Unless something major changes pretty soon, the US is totally and completely screwed

Traffic (2, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489536)

I suppose it would result in an endless Third World zerg rush on Europe. I'm sure that'll go down well.

Remember that highway networks were traditionally built to move armies around quickly.

Re:Traffic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489568)

Remember that highway networks were traditionally built to move armies around quickly

Armies? Through Russia? Good luck.

Re:Traffic (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489834)

I think China has been smallpoxing [wikia.com] and is now transitioning from the civilization which everyone took pity on because they obviously weren't up to much -- to the new superpower which has all the other players go "WTF, how did that happen??"

Then, with railroads, they can move their units across the continent in a single turn, _and_ ramp up their production. And because their units can be wherever they need them, they'll need fewer of them, allowing them to ramp up their production even more (they do have one shield upkeep under Communism, after all), and, before you know it, they'll either have conquered the world or won the space race.

Yeah, I'll save my game and turn off the computer now.

WTF ?? (0, Flamebait)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489590)

This is complete lunacy. Connection China to Europe's High Speed network ?? Through all of Russia, which has no high speed trains ?? In TEN years only ?? It took France 24 years to come where it is now, the Germans about as much time. And the Chinese want to bridge a humongously greater distance in TEN years ?? Propaganda, not more and not less.

Re:WTF ?? (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489708)

With enough manpower, I don't see how it couldn't be done. China has an immensely large labor pool to choose from, as do the other nations involved. Get the route marked out using GPS and each country puts a HUGE effort into it. For at least as long as their leg of the project takes, it will be an economic boon that will create other jobs (refueling depots (if the train is non-electric), loading/unloading depots, etc.) that will last into the long term.

Re:WTF ?? (5, Insightful)

oatworm (969674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489798)

Don't forget that most of the countries they have to go through are a bit more lax with environmental regulations and building codes than Western Europe (or the US, for that matter). I'm not saying this to suggest that China's going to go cheap on this; it's far too strategically important for them to cut corners. However, when you're not having to spend a decade on environmental impact studies and archaeological surveys before you lay a single track-equivalent, you can get quite a bit done rather quickly.

It's the same reason FDR could use the WPA to build bridges immediately, while Obama can't.

Re:WTF ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489876)

You are talking about a country which built a shipping canal by hand, in the 10th century.

and a Pachunnel? (1)

asolidvoid (964293) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489606)

And why not toss in a high speed underwater tunnel to connect up with California's rail network while you're at it? Just think how much easier the territorial negotiations would be...

This would be big (3, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489642)

This would be big, but in practice how efficiently can it run with stops in every country desired by the host country?. I think they could build this, and potentially there are a lot of benefits from doing so. Certainly the Chinese have done well with rail in China by many measures. Fundamentally, this story is more about navigating bureaucracy (a triumph of it's own right) than any particular technical challenge.

I think the bigger news would be if they started work on a railway from China to the US. That would only need to pass through Russia on the way to the US (with Canada if they want direct to the lower 48). The number of negotiations would be much lower, and the ability to safely send cargo through a rail tunnel under the sea would be worth untold billions. Tunneling under the Bering Straight is technically feasible, just look at the Chunnel and other such projects. It's slashdot, give us technical challenges, not bureaucratic ones!

Re:This would be big (2, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489762)

They'd have to build a rail line across Siberia, then cross the Bering Sea, then build a line across Alaska to Fairbanks, than another line across the Yukon and British Columbia to connect Chinese/Russian rail networks to the US and Canadian.

About 4,000 miles of wild country, 90 miles of sea, and then another 2,200 miles to get that rail net hooked up the Canada and the lower 48.

The Bering Straight is three times longer than the Channel is wide and lacks the infrastructure that France and the UK had in place. I'd ballpark 250 billion dollars to tunnel it.

Re:This would be big (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489808)

This would be big, but in practice how efficiently can it run with stops in every country desired by the host country?.

Stops or stations? Express trains don't stop at every station.

FSVO "Feasible" (4, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489846)

Tunneling under the Bering Straight is technically feasible, just look at the Chunnel and other such projects.

Ignoring for the moment the differences in depth and geological stability between the Channel and the Straights.

Re:This would be big (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31490072)

I think the bigger news would be if they started work on a railway from China to the US

Fast rail is for passengers. Not freight. That can go by sea. Passengers need a direct route. Arcing north through Siberia and Alaska (past Sarah's place) is too slow, because even fast trains are slow compared to aircraft.

Google it (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489644)

This way, Chinese citizens will be able to quickly leave the country to somewhere that has Google access.

Great for Chinese exportation (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489780)

... and I don't mean just their cheap (and occasionally toxic) products.
Truth is that much of the... alternative income (embezzlement, kickbacks) for bureaucrats tend to come from (large) construction projects. You can bet this product will have severe cost overruns.

Ominous (0, Redundant)

Adaeniel (1315637) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489646)

Invasion of Europe, anyone?

Re:Ominous (2, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489698)

I think it's more along the lines of "All aboard the Occident Express! Visit the exotic lands of the Far West! See quaint native peoples living their traditional lifestyles for your amusement and tourist yuan!"

Re:Ominous (4, Informative)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489712)

Sir (or Madam ?), it is virtually impossible to invade another country by train, a train being one of the most easily stoppable vehicles in the world. Captain J.

Troop transport (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489658)

How better to transport troops for the coming invasion.

Wow (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489666)

Wow, that's some project. And China wants to fund it? That'll surely put them on the map as one of the world's superpowers.

UK's HS2 (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489670)

Plans for the new HS2 line were unveiled this week for the UK. 9 years of planning so far, start build date hopefully 2018, finish date 2025. This is only for the first phase to link London to Birmingham. China does the whole thing in 10 years.

Ahh, we are so slow in the UK for infrastructure projects.

Re:UK's HS2 (1)

aaron alderman (1136207) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489726)

It's amazing what you can do when you don't care about human rights, property rights and environmental concerns.

Re:UK's HS2 (1)

mcfedr (1081629) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489954)

seriously how many human rights concerns are there building a railway line? when i saw it had taken 10 years of planning and will take another 15 to build these new lines in Britain i was shocked at the level of bureaucratic crap that must be going on. there is no way it takes that long, if you actually just get down to it.

Europe _and_ the UK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31489842)

Since when was the UK not part of Europe?

Re:Europe _and_ the UK? (1)

danielsfca2 (696792) | more than 4 years ago | (#31490050)

Um, since always. it's an island. er, one and a half islands. In other news, Hawaii is not a part of North America. :P

Why? (1)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 4 years ago | (#31489852)

I too think this is cool, but are a couple of questions that get to my mind:

  • First, it is a BIG risk. A lot of investment depending of 14 countries getting to agree in something and keeping to agree in the future... i.e. if only one of these 14 countries has a change of government, a war with the neighbour from which the train comes to, etc. If the link comes down at the middle, it will be difficult to get benefits from traffic from/to only Kazakhstan, for example. And High Speed Tracks are expensive, both to build and to mantain.
  • Also, what would be the advantage? I mean, take that you get in from the South of Spain and from there you go, non-stop, at 300 km/h. For a track length of 15.000 km(and that assumes you can do almost a straight line from start to end) that would mean 50 hours. More than by plane, and that after making very optimistic calculus. Also think that I didn't include time from switching trains if you need to.
  • And finally, who would use it? Ok, there are are plane loads of flights that go to China every day from Europe and back, but those have better options by plane. And don't count on increasing traffic from/to the middle of the steppe as a way to make the numbers add.

Also, I am a little worried about the ambiental impact of the project. High-Speed Trains are as contaminants as airplanes, and here you'll add also all the energy and impact of deploying and maintaining tens of thousands of kilomets of railways. Given that in this case traffic is from both of the extremes of the link(with all my respects to Russia and Turkey), it looks like that maybe planes are indeed a better approach. If it was about joining railway nets already built with some short links, it could, but building thousands of kilometers through desert and semi-desert, no way.

Yay. (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 4 years ago | (#31490012)

Anything that makes it easier to move products, people and materials from one point on the globe to another can't be bad. Just as long as they keep corruption in check and don't crack too many eggs to make the omelette. As a westerner, it certainly looks like most of the problems of this type is tied to perverted intent and selfishness down the chain of command (with regional officials by necessity having to have quite a bit of power due to chinas sheer size). Any mainlanders/expatriates able to comment on how things like this usually winds up?

Hmm (2, Informative)

Karpe (1147) | more than 4 years ago | (#31490024)

"China already has the most advanced and extensive high-speed rail lines in the world."

No, it doesn't.

High Speed Rail and Freight are Mutually Exclusive (3, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31490046)

You can't run high-speed rail and freight on the same tracks. It's because of the weight of freight cars. They can physically bend the rail enough for you to see it happening. So, the track doesn't stay in sufficient calibration to use for high-speed rail. Indeed, the first thing you do, if you want high-speed rail, is build an exclusive track line.

To be used for freight a system like this would need four tracks at a minimum. Two for passenger and two for freight.

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