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Chinese High-Speed Train Sets New World Record

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the speeding-bullet dept.

Transportation 267

shmG writes "A new high-speed train linking Chinese cities Shanghai and Hangzhou has set a fresh world record for train speed at 416.6 kilometers per hour (259 mph) on its trial run on Tuesday. The train is expected to cut the travel time by half, to 40 minutes for covering a distance of 202 kilometers between the two cities at an average speed of 350 kilometers per hour. 'The new record of 416.6 km per hour shows that China has achieved a new milestone in high-speed train technologies,' Zhang Shuguang, deputy chief engineer of the Ministry of Railways, was quoted as saying."

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booyah (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33744816)

In your face Japan!

Re:booyah (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 years ago | (#33744852)

In your face Japan!

You know this should probably be marked informative. I'm sure that this was as much of a motivation as cutting journey times.

Re:booyah (4, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about 4 years ago | (#33744888)

But the Shinkansen made 443 km/h in diverse tests, still about 25 km/h faster than the chinese train.

Re:booyah (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745062)

You should also note that the Shinkansen has to travel over curves with a much smaller radius than either the TGV or the Chinese bullet train does. Reality is that unless you have very long stretches of straight track, the Shinkansen is still the fastest. Neither the TGV nor the Chinese bullet train can come even close to the speeds the Shinkansen does around those curves. Of course, if the Shinkansen would simply build straight tracks (not exactly as easy as it sounds, considering the geographic location) then yes, both the TGV and Chinese bullet train would rule in both test run and service speeds. But then again, the Japanese Railway company will start building a super conductive mag-lev line in parallel to the Shinkansen soon. This is NOT the same technology as seen from the Shanghai airport, by the way.

Re:booyah (1)

siddesu (698447) | about 4 years ago | (#33745150)

And the maglev shinkansen version has apparently gone well over 500km/h in manned flight while I wasn't watching:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_speed_record_for_rail_vehicles [wikipedia.org]

Re:booyah (2, Interesting)

nojayuk (567177) | about 4 years ago | (#33745378)

The Japanese superconducting maglev system is being designed to run in service at 550km/hr. The test vehicles (which often carry passengers) can achieve this speed pretty much at will, it does not require special versions of the trains. The test area in Japan has two side-by-side tracks about 40km long (longer than the Chinese Beijing airport maglev) and they have successfully run two trains past each other at a closing speed of 1100km/hr, something that may cause problems with super-high-speed steel-wheel trains given their existing rights-of-way have no blast dividers between the tracks.

Re:booyah (4, Informative)

AC-x (735297) | about 4 years ago | (#33745196)

And the French TGV reached 574.8 km/h in a special test run. However these were specially modified trains, while this Chinese train broke the speed record for an unmodified train

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_speed_record_for_rail_vehicles#Conventional_wheeled [wikipedia.org]

Re:booyah (1)

foobsr (693224) | about 4 years ago | (#33745268)

However these were specially modified trains, while this Chinese train broke the speed record for an unmodified train

Presumably it is a modified mixture of technology developped by Kawasaki, Siemens, Bombardier etc. .

CC

No long enough tracks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745064)

There's no long enough straight tracks in Japan... Hope that linear motor lines will come true soon.

Re:booyah (3, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | about 4 years ago | (#33745136)

This is only a test. Wait until it is in operation free of trouble and come back again.

If memory serves, Japan's Shinkansen has had only one accident (while braking during a very strong earthquake in 2006), and no dead people in how many years of operation now - maybe 40, maybe more.

Wake me up when the Chinese beat that record.

Wrong! (4, Informative)

SmilingBoy (686281) | about 4 years ago | (#33744818)

The TGV holds the record with 575 km/h! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TGV_world_speed_record [wikipedia.org]

Re:Wrong! (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 years ago | (#33744832)

Even their 20 year old record from 1990 is faster.
(515.3 km/h (143.1 m/s or 320.3 mph), set on 18 May 1990.)

Re:Wrong! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33744878)

China's World records are like the US World Series only in name.

Re:Wrong! (3, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33744922)

Yes ... but the average speed of the TGV on real journeys is a lot less - 279 km/h (173.6 mph) according to Wikipedia.

Re:Wrong! (5, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | about 4 years ago | (#33744932)

That TGV record is for a test train on a specially prepared track with customized power feed and tensioning on the catenary. It's not clear from TFA, but I believe the Chinese are claiming the record for a production train on production track (ie equivalent to scheduled runs).

See e.g. this from the Wikipedia TGV article: "A TGV service previously held the record for the fastest scheduled rail journey with a start to stop average speed of 279.4 km/h (173.6 mph),[2][3] which was surpassed by the Chinese CRH service Harmony express on the Wuhan-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway in 2009."

Re:Wrong! (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 4 years ago | (#33745146)

That TGV record is for a test train on a specially prepared track with customized power feed and tensioning on the catenary.

And most likely, that test track was completely secure. The biggest problems with TGVs right now is the possibility that someone might cut/jump the fences/barbed wires and walk along the tracks. People tend to underestimate the amount of time it takes to get off the track when they hear a bullet train coming.

Re:Wrong! (1)

Joebert (946227) | about 4 years ago | (#33745170)

I guess the obvious solution is to electrify the fences with 20,000 volts.

Re:Wrong! (4, Funny)

Ash Vince (602485) | about 4 years ago | (#33745386)

I guess the obvious solution is to electrify the fences with 20,000 volts.

Actually, the obvious (and cheaper) solution is simply to make sure the front of the train is fairly sturdy and won't get dented by morons walking along the track looking for their Darwin award. You might want to make it easy to clean too :)

Re:Wrong! (1)

boule75 (649166) | about 4 years ago | (#33745270)

The record took place on the regular Paris-Reims line, which had just been built. Those new TGV lines are systematically built to avoid road crossings on the line and are equipped with high and sturdy fences to hold back big mamals from trespassing.

So yes, the catenary was especially tensed, the train was somewhat customised (bigger wheels) but the tracks were "standard" : they just choose the straightest part of the line to set up the record.

To come back to the Chinese line : how long does it take to accelerate and to brake from the top speed to zero ? Is that comfortable ?

Acceleration doesn't have to be noticeable (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33745424)

eg. A tenth of a G will get you up to that speed in less than two minutes (and in total comfort).

Re:Wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745442)

That TGV record is for a test train on a specially prepared track with customized power feed and tensioning on the catenary.

And most likely, that test track was completely secure. The biggest problems with TGVs right now is the possibility that someone might cut/jump the fences/barbed wires and walk along the tracks. People tend to underestimate the amount of time it takes to get off the track when they hear a bullet train coming.

This may be true, but is likely a non-factor. I don't see them slowing down the train during a speed trial to be cautious of suicidal pedestrians. That's an assumed risk.

Re:Wrong! (5, Informative)

Malc (1751) | about 4 years ago | (#33744950)

The article's full of errors:

A first-class train ticket to travel between the two cities is estimated to cost more than 100 yuan ($14.90), which is twice the existing fare, Jiefang Daily reported.

I've done this journey a lot of times, the last time being three weeks ago. The current high speed trains (hitting about 170kph) cost Y54 (2nd class) or Y64 (1st class). More than double the price of the existing first class would be in excess of Y130, which is bordering on exageration. The trains are always full, and there are a lot of rich Chinese and Western businessmen on this route, so I doubt they will have trouble filling seats.

Travellers believe that the high-speed train between Shanghai and Hangzhou make take longer than the two-hour drive on road if the train stops at all the nine stations along the route, seven of which are newly built in suburban districts of Shanghai and some cities of Zhejiang.

What bullshit. The current high speed trains stop maybe once or twice between Shanghai and Hangzhou - why would this one stop more than that? It'd blow the average speed, and anyway, there are already slower regional trains. Trying to claim it's a two drive to Hangzhou is again exageration... especially trying to get in to Hangzhou with its absolutely abysmal traffic problems.

I wonder though, what has happened to the maglev link between the two cities that they were building. I saw an elevating track by the highway a few weeks ago which was either the maglev line, or maybe something else.

Re:Wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745030)

I wonder though, what has happened to the maglev link between the two cities that they were building

It levitated itself so high it now forms a space elevator, with parking for flying cars.

Multiple issues holding up the maglev (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745130)

For starters, the locals on the line are fighting it until recently, when the Chinese gov. intervened and said that it will be done.

And China is still in the process of building their version of the Transrapid. They have been caught going several times through closets that they were legally prevented from, but when the chinese gov. sends in soldiers with guns to open the doors, well.....

Re:Wrong! (5, Informative)

shikaisi (1816846) | about 4 years ago | (#33745152)

Please remember there are no such things as "1st class" and "2nd class" seats in China. This is a classless society ;-) You can buy "soft seat" or "hard seat" tickets, however.

Re:Wrong! (3, Informative)

Malc (1751) | about 4 years ago | (#33745208)

Yes, you're absolutely right. I was translating for occidental type people, and trying to avoid the dumb jokes some people on this website come out with

Re:Wrong! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745356)

Yes, you're absolutely right. I was translating for occidental type people, and trying to avoid the dumb jokes some people on this website come out with

Well, those jokes are all too appropriate when a "classless" society has to make facile claims like "soft seat" and "hard seat" to sell different classes of service.

All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Re:Wrong! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745362)

I always pay your mom for a ride on her soft seat!

Re:Wrong! (2, Interesting)

macshit (157376) | about 4 years ago | (#33745394)

The article's full of errors:
...

Travellers believe that the high-speed train between Shanghai and Hangzhou make take longer than the two-hour drive on road if the train stops at all the nine stations along the route, seven of which are newly built in suburban districts of Shanghai and some cities of Zhejiang.

What bullshit. The current high speed trains stop maybe once or twice between Shanghai and Hangzhou - why would this one stop more than that? It'd blow the average speed, and anyway, there are already slower regional trains. Trying to claim it's a two drive to Hangzhou is again exageration... especially trying to get in to Hangzhou with its absolutely abysmal traffic problems.

You're right that no sane train operator would have all trains stop at all stations, but it's also pretty likely that even all-stops trains will be faster than driving. Modern HSR tends to be very light and have very good acceleration, so with good operating practices, a single stop need not add more than about 5 minutes of delay including deacceleration/acceleration time.[1] This HSR goes at 350km/h, so the total time taken by the train, including 9 intermediate stops could easily be 80 minutes or less -- far less than the 2 hours or more (if there's no traffic!) that a car at 100-110km/h would take. With express trains making fewer stops, of course, the train wins by an even huger margin.

[1] E.g., the Japanese N700 shinkansen has acceleration of 2.6km/h/s. At that rate of acceleration, accelerating to 350km/h only takes a little over 2 min. Since the average speed of the train during that period isn't zero, but rather about half the final speed, then the actual amount of time lost is only 1 min; double that to include deacceleration for total of 2 min. At intermediate stations, the Shinkansen typically stops less than a minute (maybe even like 30s), so you can see it's not that hard to get the total time lost due to a stop under 5 minutes.

Re:Wrong! (0)

VolciMaster (821873) | about 4 years ago | (#33745402)

The article's full of errors:

A first-class train ticket to travel between the two cities is estimated to cost more than 100 yuan ($14.90), which is twice the existing fare, Jiefang Daily reported.

I've done this journey a lot of times, the last time being three weeks ago. The current high speed trains (hitting about 170kph) cost Y54 (2nd class) or Y64 (1st class).

Your own data supports the [approximate] "doube" figure - last I checked, 100 is about twice 54.

Re:Wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745066)

Maybe they couldn't find these actual record holders due to their national firewall. :(

Re:Wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745192)

What, you mean Slashdot's stuck between having to root for the French or the Chinese now? Oh boy...

Hey, I've got an idea, though. How about we get our minimalist libertarian hats on and claim that this is all a colossal waste of taxpayer money and that the USA are the only country doing the right thing by NOT investing into train, especially high-speed ones? That way, we get to be #1 after all!

Re:Wrong! (1)

Dthief (1700318) | about 4 years ago | (#33745328)

Actually they are probably going to build one from SF to LA

Re: Roller coaster speeds (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 4 years ago | (#33745198)

How do these speeds compare to the top speeds of roller coasters??? Are the passengers allowed to open the windows and stick their arms out??

Re: Roller coaster speeds (1)

Swanktastic (109747) | about 4 years ago | (#33745380)

African or European?

Re: Roller coaster speeds (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 4 years ago | (#33745412)

Top roller coasters do about 150km/h (so 1/4speed). And the windows in bullet trains don't open. Your question was just as ridiculous as asking if you can open the windows and stick your arms out of an intercontinental jet.

That's wrong, too (2, Informative)

achurch (201270) | about 4 years ago | (#33745232)

As long as we're talking test runs, the Chuo Shinkansen [wikipedia.org] hit 581km/h in 2003.

Re:Wrong! (1)

MPAB (1074440) | about 4 years ago | (#33745240)

From whom was it fleeing?

Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33744820)

TGV has set the world record for train speed in 2007 at 574.8 km/h. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TGV_world_speed_record and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ir_n3J5ABA.

What are those guys at ibtimes.com smoking?

Re:Yeah right (0, Offtopic)

Dthief (1700318) | about 4 years ago | (#33745342)

Some nice (world record breaking) Chinese opium

416.6 km/h isn't a new record. (2, Informative)

tempmpi (233132) | about 4 years ago | (#33744826)

A TGV test train reached 574.8 km/h in April 2007. The new record is the average speed of 350 km/h.

Re:416.6 km/h isn't a new record. (2, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about 4 years ago | (#33744896)

And even this is not a record, as the spanish Velaro E has made 404 km/h in regular operation.

Re:416.6 km/h isn't a new record. (3, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about 4 years ago | (#33744914)

To complete this: 350 km/h is the regular speed for the Velaro E on the relation Madrid-Barcelona.

Re:416.6 km/h isn't a new record. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745216)

Wrong. 350 km/h was the estimated regular max speed for the AVE in Spain, but it seems that it is slower due to problems with the track ballast, so now it's going to max speed of "only" 300km/h to avoid damaging the trains.

news in spanish [eleconomista.es] , yahoo translation [yahoo.com]

Re:416.6 km/h isn't a new record. (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 4 years ago | (#33745230)

The Chinese CHR3 _is_ the Velaro E.

Re:416.6 km/h isn't a new record. (3, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 years ago | (#33744906)

It appears that the Chinese record is for trains that will be used in service, not experimental vehicles [wikipedia.org] .

Re:416.6 km/h isn't a new record. (1)

wye43 (769759) | about 4 years ago | (#33745428)

So the Chinese record is for real trains, that may exist in the future, but not now. So experimental/trial runs are excluded. Oh wait ...

Let me fix that. The Chinese record is for Chinese records. For China, World = China.

I wonder... (-1, Redundant)

Sique (173459) | about 4 years ago | (#33744834)

... in what category this record is set, as the speed record for electrical trains on rail/wheel was set on Apr 3 2007 at 574,8 km/h (TGV-POS 4402).

Re:I wonder... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33744934)

Yes, but what's the average speed of a TGV on a real journey with passenger cars attached...?

record speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33744836)

for a train on rail is 574.8km/h set by TGV on april 2007

Standard Units Please? (1, Funny)

fbartho (840012) | about 4 years ago | (#33744846)

Can we have that in more standard units please? I myself prefer parsecs per millenia, kthx

Re:Standard Units Please? (1)

fbartho (840012) | about 4 years ago | (#33744858)

Turns out it's roughly 0.1183 milliparsecs per millenia.

Re:Standard Units Please? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 4 years ago | (#33744894)

How long to do the Kessel run?

Re:Standard Units Please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745202)

parsecs per millennium

Fixed that for you.

CRH3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33744850)

well, it's so cheerless that we (as germans) can sell high speed trains, but are not able to run them.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Railways_CRH3

I'd be happy if our intercity trains did 300kph! (3, Informative)

fantomas (94850) | about 4 years ago | (#33744868)

Here in the UK we're lucky if our intercity trains get much over 200km/h [wikipedia.org] so I'd be happy with a mere 300km/h on the regular London to Glasgow route.....

Re:I'd be happy if our intercity trains did 300kph (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 4 years ago | (#33744898)

I'd happy for a train (doesn't have to leave on time) and a few times a month, a seat!

Re:I'd happy for a train (0, Troll)

pahles (701275) | about 4 years ago | (#33745072)

I'd happy too!

Re:I'd be happy if our intercity trains did 300kph (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745274)

Oh, we used to dream of waiting for 'train for a fortnight! Would'a been a palace to us. We had to run, barefoot, fifty miles into 'town and catch a lift to London in the back of a dustcart. We were half crushed when we got there, and it took all year, but we were thankful for it.

Re:I'd be happy if our intercity trains did 300kph (4, Informative)

Dynedain (141758) | about 4 years ago | (#33744952)

Lucky bastard, here in California we get 120km/hr. And anything faster is going to be 9 billion dollars, and over a decade, just to build the first 25 mile stretch along existing right-of-ways.

Re:I'd be happy if our intercity trains did 300kph (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33744996)

You are SO screwed [theoildrum.com] ... I hope that you get your collective act together in time!

Re:I'd be happy if our intercity trains did 300kph (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745076)

Lucky bastard, here in California we get 120km/hr.

And ironically, that was also built by Chinese people. :-)

Re:I'd be happy if our intercity trains did 300kph (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 4 years ago | (#33745354)

Not irony.

Re:I'd be happy if our intercity trains did 300kph (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745414)

You're soooo informative with your counter-examples. Remind me to nominate you to teach our children in high school.

Re:I'd be happy if our intercity trains did 300kph (5, Informative)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about 4 years ago | (#33745194)

In both cases the problem is the track ...

In the UK the track goes around a lot of corners and is far from straight, and to take out the bends would cost huge amounts (especially through towns/cities)

In the US your track is very poor quality (a legacy of the speed it was built and the huge extent of the network) and the cost of upgrading is huge ...

The very fast trains in Japan/France/China all benefit from the local governments simply forcibly buying the land required at cost (or less) and getting on with it ...

Re:I'd be happy if our intercity trains did 300kph (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 4 years ago | (#33745254)

In the UK the track goes around a lot of corners and is far from straight

That's oversold; tilting trains can deal with this, as Bombardier has demonstrated.

Not really (4, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | about 4 years ago | (#33745280)

All tilting does is make it more comfortable for the passengers. It doesnt redice the centripetal forces on the bogies and track which will become severe at very high speed. Also signalling needs to be upgraded for very high speed running to take account of greater stopping distances amongst other things.

Re:I'd be happy if our intercity trains did 300kph (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33744972)

Could happen... if our private rail charities^w companies get a big enough government handout.

Not a chinese train (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33744880)

Judging from the picture in TFA I'd say it's a Siemens train. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siemens_Velaro .

Re:Not a chinese train (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33744940)

Yeah, china has a long history of stealing things and then taking credit for it. For example, they claim that they have the fastest maglev. In reality, it is Germany that does. The problem is that China has come up with a new one. What does it look like? JUST LIKE GERMANY's.

Re:Not a chinese train (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 4 years ago | (#33745264)

Yeah, china has a long history of stealing things and then taking credit for it. For example, they claim that they have the fastest maglev. In reality, it is Germany that does. The problem is that China has come up with a new one. What does it look like? JUST LIKE GERMANY's.

Really? No one's going to call him in this astonishingly racist post?

Back here on planet Earth, one could easily find that both designs are produced under license, from Transurban and Siemens. No "stealing" involved.

Re:Not a chinese train (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745036)

My first thought was "Where dit they steal it from? Germany or France?". China has a history of stealing various train technology from Europe after all.

Re:Not a chinese train (1)

moonbender (547943) | about 4 years ago | (#33745422)

That's okay, before that, we spent about a thousand years stealing from them.

In the meantime, we in the USA... (1, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | about 4 years ago | (#33744992)

...still squabble as to whether we even need such a train. Sad to know that in this field, we as a country, are still stuck in the 1950s with so many of our folks against any move to the 21st century.

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745026)

Because in the USA things need to be profitable for companies who build something, or to the economy in general if the government (the people) is expected to pay for it.

Public transportation on fast trains is always heavily subsidized. The only ones profiting from high speed rail are the big movers of goods.

Having the government (you) poney up for fast trains in the US is/would be a fundamental move towards a more European/Chinese social economic system.

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (5, Insightful)

pr100 (653298) | about 4 years ago | (#33745038)

So all roads in the US are toll roads? ... or it's OK for the state to cough up for roads, but not for train tracks?

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about 4 years ago | (#33745052)

Because in the USA things need to be profitable for companies who build something, or to the economy in general if the government (the people) is expected to pay for it.

So, by extension of your reasoning going to the moon and NASA's activities have been profitable for the USA? The last time I checked, NASA was seeking government permission to profit from its activities.

Dude, your argument falls apart!

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (1)

TarMil (1623915) | about 4 years ago | (#33745124)

So, by extension of your reasoning going to the moon and NASA's activities have been profitable for the USA? The last time I checked, NASA was seeking government permission to profit from its activities.

Dude, your argument falls apart!

It was profitable for the country's image. Damn, I didn't think I'd have to tell someone about the Cold War here on slashdot.

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about 4 years ago | (#33745138)

It was profitable for the country's image.

Didn't know that 'image' can now be taken as a basis for profit. With this kind of reasoning, I now see why America is in trouble financially - engaging in activities that take 'image' instead of hard earned money for profit.

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (1)

Verio Fryar (811080) | about 4 years ago | (#33745346)

When I was a kid, in the 70's Spain, if something was american it was *good*. That perception sold cars, TV's,... and NASA was in part responsible of it.

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (1)

moonbender (547943) | about 4 years ago | (#33745434)

No, it was profitable for the corporations involved. The country's image is utterly irrelevant.

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (4, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | about 4 years ago | (#33745098)

The phrase "European/Chinese economic system" makes no sense. European economies are extremely different from the Chinese.

Unlike what some may believe, there aren't only two economic systems, the US Capitalist and the Other. Even if both the European and the Chinese invest more public money in infrastructure than the US (do they?), it doesn't mean they have a similar system.

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (0)

Dunbal (464142) | about 4 years ago | (#33745176)

or to the economy in general if the government (the people) is expected to pay for it.

[citation needed]

Please look up current government debt and then think about what you just said. Government programs allocate resources in a completely inefficient manner, creating useless jobs, duplicating work, beginning programs that are un-necessary or even obsolete once they finally get around to them, all the while finding the best way to trip up or put barriers in the way of the private sector.

No, government on paper bears no relationship to government in practice. But the good thing is that all the blame gets shifted to you, the voter, and your one tiny little vote. So no one feels responsible.

Spending money is not good for an economy. Spending money EFFICIENTLY is. However time and time again governments (which account for a vast chunk of total spending) have proven themselves to be incapable of this. The government gets a cut of all income AND every single transaction (be it sales taxes, estate taxes, import tariffs, etc) and STILL manages to fail to deliver on its promises, and has to resort to extra taxes for "special" projects that actually turn out to be basic infrastructure. No, I am not in the "government is good" camp.

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (2, Insightful)

boule75 (649166) | about 4 years ago | (#33745426)

<quote><p>Spending money is not good for an economy. Spending money EFFICIENTLY is.</p></quote>
You're right, that's the optimal thing.

<quote><p>However time and time again governments (which account for a vast chunk of total spending) have proven themselves to be incapable of this.</p></quote>

First , it very much depends of the timeframe you're placing yourself in, or of the expenses you're talking of. For instance "government" overhead for managing medicare is apparently very small compared that of privately runned health insurance companies.
Publicly runned health systems in Europe cost less and are vastly more efficient than the US private version...
Then consider building a bridge : it will cost a lot and could possibly become profitable only in the very long run. Furthermore, many of its benefit are probably hidden. So there is no incentive for the private sector to build that bridge even though it may be very useful and profitable for society as a whole in the long run.
And who would run an honest army for a profit ?

Second : there are so many idle spendings in the private sector that are truly worthless that you're surely joking. Advertisement is one, vast sums hijacked by the financial sector are another, especially when the government bails it out...

I am all for efficient spending, from the government of from the private sector.

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 4 years ago | (#33745042)

That is a problem that is related to our much lower population density. Keep in mind that China and EU have much higher population densities. More so for China in that the population is really focused on one coast.

With that said, where America is lacking is that we are not looking at Cargo and doing it across all of North America. Basically, we should be putting a high speed rail on the common cargo routes, rather than common human routes. Even now, AmTrack is talking a pure east coast route, where the smart route would be starting in boston, hitting nyc, and then heading WEST. In particular, head for pit, cleveland, detroit, gary, Chi, and mil.. Ideally, then carry the route west with at least one train every couple of hours that will only stop every 700-1000 miles. That way, it can move cargo across the nation QUICKLY AND CHEAPLY. If they do this, then it makes it possible to carry PROFITABLE cargo. In contrast, if we focus on humans, America would have to subsidize even more heavily our trains, than what EU and China currently do.

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (2, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | about 4 years ago | (#33745200)

NIMBYs will prevent the construction of new track or the running of truly high-speed trains on existing tracks - tons of small towns have regulations regarding maximum train speeds. They're not necessarily all wrong, either, because of the large number of at-grade crossings.

Rail in the US will continue to do what it does best - move bulk cargo cheaply. Any more just isn't going to happen.

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 4 years ago | (#33745244)

"High Speed" rail normally means over 180mph or so, and is so far for passengers only.

What's the average speed of a freight train in the USA? When I visited they mostly seemed to go very slow, 30mph perhaps, so there's big improvements that could be made without the cost of a high speed line. The are fast freight trains here in the UK, mail and parcels trains might travel at 110mph, containers at 90mph, and even coal might travel at 75mph. Keeping it fast allows it to fit in with passenger services -- the passenger train stops at some stations, but has a higher top speed, so neither train needs to overtake the other. Of course, those speeds put it beyond the top speed achievable by road (60mph, legally). None of this uses "high speed" lines.

The US is already very good at rail cargo (presumably because of the huge distances to cover), so perhaps upgrading wouldn't win enough extra business, especially as there's simply more track to upgrade than in a densely populated country. There's presumably more freight to carry on it though.

In 2013 DB (the German rail company) are planning to start high speed services from London to Frankfurt, with a journey time of 4-5 hours. Of course, there's a sea crossing which makes it difficult for road to compete, but it seems they think they'll be able to tempt enough people away from planes to make the service profitable (flight time is about 1h40). The distance is still only half the distance from Boston to Chicago -- I doubt many people would travel the whole way, but intermediate journeys (Cleveland - Chicago, Pittsburgh - New York etc) could make it work.

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 4 years ago | (#33745288)

With that said, where America is lacking is that we are not looking at Cargo and doing it across all of North America. Basically, we should be putting a high speed rail on the common cargo routes, rather than common human routes.

Can't do it, signalling and track loads on cargo lines are not useful for high-speed trains. To get anything near "high speed" you need separate lins.

Cargo in general is dying in the US. Since delivery over the last mile generally requires a semi-trailer to haul the container, it's typically cheaper in the long run to build a new container port than it is to trans-ship through trains. Then you ship the containers to the port and truck them the last 400 km or so. This doesn't work for mid-west areas, but the amount of cargo flowing there is limited to the point that it's not a serious consideration.

The same is not true in Canada where the coastal loading areas are seriously limited, basically to Halifax, Vancouver and a few ports on the St. Lawrence while the main industrial areas are all inland 1000's of km away. As a result the railways up here are making money hand over fist, and they're slowly but surely buying up the US companies. Soo Line cars are very common in Oshawa.

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (1)

Third Position (1725934) | about 4 years ago | (#33745044)

China is different country, with a different geography, and a different history of development. China, for example, doesn't have a highway system comparable to ours. The percentage of Chinese who drive is much smaller than the percentage of Americans who drive. Also, at least at one time, we had a robust domestic airline industry, negating the need for trains.

So, yes, whether we need such trains here remains an open question. If they were built, who would use them, and for what?

The infrastructure needs of the Chinese are very different from ours. Just because this is an appropriate investment for the Chinese (which still remains to be seen), doesn't necessarily mean it's an appropriate investment for us.

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (1)

Gunstick (312804) | about 4 years ago | (#33745360)

with your reasoning, Europe does not need high speed trains. Well they were invented there.

How many 1 hour plane routes do you have in the US? All these can be replaced by train. Even 2h connections are train candidates.

Re:In the meantime, we in the USA... (1)

Overunderrated (1518503) | about 4 years ago | (#33745436)

The 21st century? We had a transcontinental railroad in the 19th century, buddy.

Pretty cool i guess (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745050)

Too bad their safety record won't be as good as their speed record.

Article Wrong! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745142)

North Korea train is best train!

Re:Article Wrong! (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 years ago | (#33745188)

North Korea train is best train!

Yes, because it can get you out of North Korea.

Re:Article Wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745388)

North Korea train is best train!

Bah, that's a Chinese train, too. Paid for by the Chinese as a toy to keep their lap-dog dictator happy.

And to give the North Korean people a nice train to look at as that lap-dog dictator rides around in splendor as the people starve.

need coffee! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745242)

I need coffee. I read the headline as saying that there was a Chinese train set (as in a model train set) that set a new world record...

China Quality .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745294)

I give it 3 weeks of operation before the first 500km/h derailment ....

*Bang* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33745416)

The power supply will probably only last a week.

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