Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

World's Longest High-Speed Rail Line Opens In China

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the flatten-all-the-pennies dept.

China 322

An anonymous reader writes "Today China continued rolling out the future of high speed rail by officially unveiling the world's longest high-speed rail line — a 2,298-kilometer (1,428-mile) stretch of railway that connects Beijing in the north to Guangzhou in the south. The first trains on the new route hit 300 kph (186 mph), cutting travel time between the two cities by more than half."

cancel ×

322 comments

Therewhile ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397203)

...the United States has the longest Slow Speed rail lines of the world.

Re:Therewhile ... (5, Funny)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397277)

And the United Kingdom has the slowest Slow Speed rail lines in the world... we even had a name for it given by the staff of the state operator.

It's called British Rail Time - around rnd*9 hours behind GMT (or BST), whichever is currently operating. The only timezone in the world defined in pseudocode.

Re:Therewhile ... (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397327)

Still faster than 90% of Amtrack.

To go from Buffalo NY to Toronto Canada by car takes about 1.44 hours, by train it takes 4.5 hours. As a trip I make on a fairly regular basis for pleasure it would be great to be able to avoid driving as I do not need a car once I arrive. Wasting half of a day of vacation on a train is not something I intend to do.

Re:Therewhile ... (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397693)

Amtrak top speeds is around 80mph. They are physically capable of going faster, but the cost (fuel) and the track conditions generally don't allow it.

Amtrak trains are sidelined for any passing freight trains, and have to slow down to traverse sections of poor track, and towns. When Amtrak was conceived, it was supposed to have precedence over Freight. That lasted all of 12 minutes, before the railroad which "own" and maintain the track got Congress to strip that language.

(I but "own" in quotes because in most cases, these railway right-of-ways were historically simply granted to the railroads for zero dollars.)

Its cost prohibitive to build new railbeds today, due to the cost of land. This restriction doesn't apply in a command-economy such as China.

The best that could be done would be to build high-speed passenger rail along the Interstate highway system right-of-way. Even this will never happen because its not perceived as important as dumping money down the social program rat hole. Small projects are underway, principally in California, but I suspect these will be gobbled up by freight or budget cuts long before they are completed.

People should ride Amtrak. Its an enjoyable way to travel. Just don't go by train if you are in a hurry.

Re:Therewhile ... (3, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397753)

I ride trains when I am in Europe. In the USA it is not just that you have to be not in a hurry, but you have to be retired or independently wealthy. I just checked to visit my brother in TX, would take one overnight train to Chicago, a long layover, and another overnight train onward. So I am supposed to pay more than airplane tickets, and take two days?

With the TSA now moving towards inspecting my testicles for train rides that slim advantage is also disappearing.

Re:Therewhile ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397965)

Amtrak is fucking stupid. It costs as much or even more than a plane ticket and is like 10 times slower.

Re:Therewhile ... (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397721)

Not to mention train tickets are usually the same, if not higher, than a plane ticket... There's no food on the train. If you're not used to riding the train, it's pretty confusing. You're basically left to your own devices to figure out which train you need to get on, where to get off, and then navigate the tourist trap they call a train station. Not that the airports much better, but the few times I've taken the train I've not been impressed at all. It'd been cheaper, faster and more comfortable to drive a hummer to some downtown metropolitan area than it would be to take a train. They have a long way to go before they start attracting new customers.

Re:Therewhile ... (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397915)

>To go from Buffalo NY to Toronto Canada by car takes about 1.44 hours,

On what planet?

The 401 is nearly impassible if you don't get your butt on the highway from the Peace Bridge before 4AM.

1.44 hours from the Peace Bridge only happens if you happen to hit that magical time of the day when traffic is light, and that is generally "before the Devil gets his shoes on."

>by train is 4.5 hours
>amtrak
>As if you can take the train directly from the Peace Bridge to Union Station.

1. Amtrak doesn't operate in Canada.
2. You can't even get there from there. You have to pick up VIA Rail from Niagara Falls in Ontario. That's the furthest away from Union Station you can get and still take the train in, which is not recommended.
3. Frankly, going from Buffalo to Toronto, in a word, sucks. It sucks all the way around.
4. I recommend parking in Port Credit and taking the GO train.

--
BMO

Re:Therewhile ... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397969)

I do it pretty regularly. You don't have to take the peace bridge you know. Actually you keep taking it, leaves the other bridges free for me.

1. No but it offers connections.
2. Amtrack website disagrees
3. It is not that much fun.
4. I do usually get a hotel outside of town and take the train in. Driving in Toronto is a total shitshow.

Re:Therewhile ... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397321)

Our freight system is the best in the World, though. And if high speed passenger rail made sense, trust me, the railroads would be on it.

If we had the population density to warrant such a passenger system to make it worth while, folks would be jumping on it.

I'm all for rail and efficient transportation. Just because it is so in other areas doesn't mean it's appropriate for another. In other words, a high speed rail system in the US - for except maybe the Northeast - just doesn't make financial or environmental sense. It's a lose/lose proposition.

Let's be smart about it.

Re:Therewhile ... (3, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397349)

We have the population density in some areas, yet it it still not built there. Much of Europe has similar densities yet damn near every town has a train station. Here in the Northeast many towns do not even have one in an hours drive.

Buffalo to Toronto takes 4.5 hours. You claiming those places have to low a population density?

Times to NY city are also insanely long.

Re:Therewhile ... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397715)

No, you're wrong. We actually do not have the population densities to support it, otherwise it would have been built.

Most of Europe is a series of countries centered around one hub city: Paris, Berlin, etc. The individual countries are pretty much set up as a hub-and-spoke concept. Not to mention that each rail system is established under each individual country's budgets, so they tend to tie their regions together by forcing them to run the rail system through the main hub which is also the capital city, and then the networks are tied together to allow inter-country transit.

China is more of an archipelago style nation. They have 18 major geographic centers which are HIGHLY dense; the areas between the major cities are really quite sparse but a small city in China is 1 to 5 million people, with Beijing at 18 million and Shanghai at 24million, and that's just in the city, not the surrounding regions. For them high speed rail makes sense as you have a few highly dense locations to connect. China like the US has a very high rural population, however those areas are mostly underdeveloped, and it has been a very expensive project for China to try to bring even basic infrastructure to them, let alone an advanced high speed rail system. A full 900 M of China's residents live in the rural parts with no access to electricty, let alone high speed rail.

The US is very different. The US has fully 60 major metropolitan centers scattered all over a landmass that is much larger than all of Europe, and while some are more prominant than others by no means is a single one dominant like you have in Europe. But when you take the entirety of the US geography into account, we have a much larger rural population. Trains are great for delivering large quantities of goods to a single location, but trucks are far better and delivering smaller quantities of goods to a great many locations. Not to mention that the US already has a much better option for transportation; the entire midwest has a vast interconnected river system which empties out into the Gulkf of Mexico, as well as numerous deep water ports on both coasts lines. Water transportation is about 10-30% of the cost of rail or truck, so there's just no impetus to build high speed rail.

So at the end of the day, when planes are faster for passenger movement, water transporation is already available and vastly cheaper for goods movement, why on earth would anyone in the US build high speed rail? What's the advantage?

Re:Therewhile ... (4, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397827)

Wow, already in the first couple sentences you are wrong.

Look at the actual numbers, for population density then think about it again. France 303/sq mile vs NY state 412.3 inhabitants per square mile. Spain is even lower. Germany only slightly higher. We have states that have very comparable population rates and relatively few hub cities. NY state has only NYC, Buffalo, Rochester. Still there is no good rail travel between them. Those 3 cities hold almost the entire population of the state.

Berlin is not even the biggest airport in Germany, much less some hub city. Way to piss off the entire Western and Southern parts of that country.

China I cannot speak too.

The USA has 60 Major metros, 90% of which don't even have subway systems and sure as hell could be linked with HSR to each other.

Planes are heavily subsidized and burn fuel at rates that will not continue to be possible. The advantage is if we build HSR now we can still use it when we don't have the oil to spare for jets.

Re:Therewhile ... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397917)

Germany is certainly not centered around Berlin. There are lots of major centers like Hamburg, Cologne, Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and so on. In the US a high speed train would make lot of sense, e.g. from Washington to NYC and then to Bostonor LA to San Francisco. It's just that the US has given up on improving its infrastructure.

Re:Therewhile ... (2)

mozumder (178398) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397933)

So at the end of the day, when planes are faster for passenger movement, water transporation is already available and vastly cheaper for goods movement, why on earth would anyone in the US build high speed rail? What's the advantage?

Should we mention that there are 30,000 automobile deaths a year? Or the hundreds of thousands of injuries? You ARE scared to death of driving a car, right? You did develop your own survival instincts to fear an automobile transportation system, right? Those are what you should be training yourself to do.

Learn to fear cars.

Meanwhile, the leading economic factor is train is far more energy efficient than any other form of transportation, and therefore, cheaper.

Right now it is your friendly neighborhood energy companies that are preventing you from using a train system. They want to force you to pay to do any movement across the country. Train is their ultimate enemy, because it is so much more efficient.

The worst part of the automobile transportation system is that it requires individual labor. I can't read a book or sleep while driving a car. I can do that while on a train. Cars force me to become a lowly laborer, a very inefficient and expensive use of my time.

Also, you don't need high-population densities for train. Not sure why that helps? Wasn't the US rail system built on rural west? In higher density areas, you just end up building more rail lines.

Re:Therewhile ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397767)

Not sure what you're on about, but it involves the whole train going through customs. You'd have to wait for a couple of hours if you had to go as a group of cars too.

Re:Therewhile ... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397857)

You could do customs like it is done on planes, at the destination.

Even a group of cars would not take more than an hour, this is adding 3 hours to the trip we are talking about.

Re:Therewhile ... (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397993)

We also have a much more "Darwin Elimination Prone" population. The small towns in Europe aren't serviced by every train that goes through - and if the train is going to skip the town, it doesn't slow down and barrels across at-grade crossings at 100 kph or more. Here in the US, trains slow down for at-grade crossings to 30 kph. That really causes a big slow-down in overall commute times.

Re:Therewhile ... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397493)

Our freight system is the best in the World, though. And if high speed passenger rail made sense, trust me, the railroads would be on it.

You're assuming they're still in the passenger business. They aren't. And you're also assuming that nobody is being an impediement to them.

They are.

If we had the population density to warrant such a passenger system to make it worth while, folks would be jumping on it.

I'm all for rail and efficient transportation. Just because it is so in other areas doesn't mean it's appropriate for another. In other words, a high speed rail system in the US - for except maybe the Northeast - just doesn't make financial or environmental sense. It's a lose/lose proposition.

Let's be smart about it.

And then you see that during the 20's and 30's, we had over a billion rail-passengers a year, when the population was a lot less dense in most areas.

You may think that rail makes no sense except in limited areas, but then you take a look at one of those Earth at night maps and see lots of shining lights. Are there places where rail makes no sense in the US? Absolutely.

But there's a lot more places where we could use it. But we don't have it. Why isn't it being built? Is it a combination of opposition to government, greed on the part of automobile, highway and fuel companies, or what?

Heck, just ask Florida. They voted in a high-speed rail. Then somebody lead a campaign to do what? End it. Why? Do you believe he was really concerned about the fiscal interests, or was he thinking of his own?

Re:Therewhile ... (1)

Smallpond (221300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397675)

Automobile and air travel are subsidized with public money to build roads and provide air traffic services (and security). The only significant public money going to railroads is to build crossings for car traffic. If politicians were looking for fuel efficiency and cost savings instead of the flashiest most vote-getting programs they would be investing in rail.

Re:Therewhile ... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397929)

Automobile and air travel are subsidized with public money to build roads and provide air traffic services (and security).

Not forgetting the biggest subsidising of aircraft: Aviation fuel is tax free. Unlike fuel for road or rail.

Re:Therewhile ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397771)

In the 20's and the 30's, air travel was in it's infancy. Now it's predominant. I can catch an early morning flight from SoCal to San Fran, have a meeting with a partner for 2-3 hours, than catch a flight back that afternoon and be home for Monday night football with modern air travel. You couldn't do that in the 20's and the 30's with rail or air. Things have changed in the past 80 years; the two time periods are not analagous.

Plus, the guy you're talking about si Rick Scott, the Governor of Florida. And to be honest, I bet he was thinking of financial interests. Air travel requires an airport. Train travel requires train stations and rail tracks. That is vastly more infrastructure development and maintenance costs, especially when you're talking about eminent domain; while the government can take your land at fair value, the eminent domain process takes years to complete and the amount required to build a new rail system would be epic. Not nearly as difficult to build an airport.

Re:Therewhile ... (1)

ickleberry (864871) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397967)

Air travel requires an absolute shitload of fuel, which is fast running out. Trains can run on whatever renewable source of grid power is available at the time

Not necessarily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42398097)

You're assuming they're still in the passenger business. They aren't. And you're also assuming that nobody is being an impediement to them.

And you're assuming they won't get back into it if it were worthwhile.

And then you see that during the 20's and 30's, we had over a billion rail-passengers a year, when the population was a lot less dense in most areas.

What was their alternative? Driving? Back then?! There were no interstates and cars were slow and unreliable.

But there's a lot more places where we could use it. But we don't have it. Why isn't it being built? Is it a combination of opposition to government, greed on the part of automobile, highway and fuel companies, or what?

None of the above. The biggest problems I've see are the huge capital outlays for any new rail and trains. And when folks look at that, the number of passengers it takes to make it worthwhile, it turns out to be not worth it. The numbers don't work.

And ...

You may think that rail makes no sense except in limited areas, but then you take a look at one of those Earth at night maps and see lots of shining lights.

Not dense enough in most of those areas. Again, the numbers just don't work.

Re:Therewhile ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397717)

Sorry my friend, but your arguments have no basis, just saying "if it was good, we would have it first" doesnt mean a think.
I recommend a visit to Germany, it is an interesting country where city population densities are generally low, but almost all cities have train stations and they have quite a few high speed lines too. I tired some and not only were very comfortable, they were also affordable, and there didnt seem to be any shortage in passengers either.
Believe me, US has much higher population densities,
My guess would be, as a petroleum focused country, your automotive industry might have too strong a lobby to make it happen, but i m an outsider and this is just a guess.

Re:Therewhile ... (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397773)

And if high speed passenger rail made sense, trust me, the railroads would be on it.

You nailed ½ the question when it comes to population density – but only ½. I think high speed rail would work in some locations within the US. I think local politics play en equally important role.

I have been a residence who was directly affected by a rail expansion (freight, upgrade from 1 track to 2) and a commuter rail project. Every place that would be affected put in its own request for harm mitigation that required its own environmental impact studies, etc.

Projects that make sense on a grand scale are killed by parochial concerns. As an example, I think Chris Christie killed a subway expansion not because it was a bad idea but because he felt New York and the DOT should kick in more.

Re:Therewhile ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397333)

...the United States has the longest Slow Speed rail lines of the world.

Certainly you've heard of the Trans-Siberian Railway, which runs for more than 5700 miles and spans almost the entire length of Russia.

Re:Therewhile ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397403)

The US also has the worst on-time stats (train) of any developed country. It is still faster to travel long distances in the US by air.

Flying from Boston to Los Angeles is 3,000 miles by road (twice the China rail length). It's 2604 miles by air and only takes 6 hours 21 minutes (413mph avg). The same trip by China's train would take 14 hours assuming that it ran 186mph the entire trip.

Unfortunately now the US you are equally likely to be groped by a TSA agent by air or rail.

Re:Therewhile ... (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397793)

The US also has the worst on-time stats (train) of any developed country. It is still faster to travel long distances in the US by air. Flying from Boston to Los Angeles is 3,000 miles by road (twice the China rail length). It's 2604 miles by air and only takes 6 hours 21 minutes (413mph avg). The same trip by China's train would take 14 hours assuming that it ran 186mph the entire trip. Unfortunately now the US you are equally likely to be groped by a TSA agent by air or rail.

It seems disingenuous to compare a non-stop air flight to a mode of travel designed to provide transportation to many points in between the two end points. How long would you think it would take if there were twenty stops on each flight between Boston and LA? Try sticking with Apples to Apples when doing comparisons.

The on time record is abysmal. But it is that way by law. The law that established Amtrak was changed at the last minute to give freight the right of way.
Amtrak is working pretty much as designed. The design was severely flawed. It was, after all, a creation of Congress.

And, for the record, I've never seen a TSA agent on an Amtrak train or at an Amtrak station. Not saying they don't show up, more as a muscle flexing exercise and trial balloon, but is is extremely unusual. Pretty hard to hijack a train and take down a sky scraper with it.

Re:Therewhile ... (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397985)

The law that established Amtrak was changed at the last minute to give freight the right of way.

Wow, that's so dumb.

Re:Therewhile ... (1)

TwezerFace (2788771) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397549)

:) cute

Frist! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397227)

Posting first from China.

Re:Frist! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397271)

But...you didn't.

Re:Frist! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397391)

Chinese quality post.

Re:Frist! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397359)

You should realise that even if you are Frist, your comment will be resorted out of the way sooner or later, feeling like a -2. But then again, you must be new here :)

Give it 12months... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397257)

I expect within that time frame to see at least one catastrophic crash by this new rail system.

Re:Give it 12months... (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397303)

Is that just simple Luddite-speak or are you trying to imply that the Chinese build unsafe systems? Funny, you rely on quite a lot of them, wherever you are...

Re:Give it 12months... (1)

godrik (1287354) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397325)

Actually, I do not think the Chinese built it. I believe they contracted european train builders.

Re:Give it 12months... (2)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about a year and a half ago | (#42398019)

For the initial units, yes. The railway and cars were then duplicated, including the processes and tools needed. At least that's what they did on the Shanghai-Nanjing leg (which I've ridden way too many times).

Re:Give it 12months... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397311)

Afterall, they probably copied US engineering designs.

Meanwhile in the US... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397295)

We can't even be bothered to build one without some hysterical group having a fit over it.

Re:Meanwhile in the US... (1)

Smallpond (221300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397315)

China just connects cities with theirs. We connect cornfields with ours.

Re:Meanwhile in the US... (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397441)

When you can build a HSR train, not have it subsidized (heavily) by tax payers, have it affordable and convenient (fast) for people to use, THEN and only then will I accept it as an option. Problem is, you can't, as HSR fails on all these accounts. In California, we passed HSR and the costs have already tripled what they proponents claimed it would cost, AND it hasn't even started. The estimated ticket prices are such that is is still cheaper to fly (air rail system). Nobody that is proposing HSR is based on anything in reality, only romantic feelings about trains.

If you remove all the emotionalism from those proposing HSR, you are left holding a big, expensive, "me too" toy that. It boarders upon religious fanaticism.

Re:Meanwhile in the US... (5, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397491)

So should we get rid of the interstates as well?
What about airports? Should they all be closed for the same reason?

I propose HSR not for any romantic notions, but because I have ridden it in Europe. I have been on the damn things and seen how well they work.

How about you name a method of travel that meets those goals so we can compare it to HSR.

Re:Meanwhile in the US... (0)

Brett Buck (811747) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397713)

The interstate highway system is a brilliant economic success. Passenger trains haven't be financially viable for 100+ years.

       

Re:Meanwhile in the US... (5, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397825)

The interstate highway system is paid for by the federal government. $425 billion. Apparently the largest public works system since the pyramids. Why exactly Americans think of this as "a brilliant economic success" and state funded medicine as "socialist" the FSM only knows.

Well actually we do know. Because that's how lobbyists chose to frame them.

Re:Meanwhile in the US... (2)

frosty_tsm (933163) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397913)

The interstate highway system is paid for by the federal government. $425 billion. Apparently the largest public works system since the pyramids. Why exactly Americans think of this as "a brilliant economic success" and state funded medicine as "socialist" the FSM only knows.

Well actually we do know. Because that's how lobbyists chose to frame them.

I bet some of the same people going out and making a stink about the evils of the health care reform bill or teachers unions still call up to complain when there is a pothole on their street.

Everything is wasteful, unless it's for you.

Re:Meanwhile in the US... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397991)

No, because state funded medicine means I have to pay for someone else's bad lifestyle choices, such as not exercising and eating crap. I exercise 2-3 hours/day, cook my own food all healthy and organic stuff, yet under socialized medicine I pay the same rate for healthcare as some idiot watching TV eating bon bons and Big Macs, and I'd have to wait in line for something I might need, rather than tailor my health insurance to my own lifestyle and needs. They're entitled to live the way they want, but I shoudln't have to pay for the cost for their unhealthy fat ass.

Your comment about the system costing $425 billion makes no sense, because there is in turn a huge economic benefit and therefore the comment is valid when related to something else. The roads have allowed us to get to wherever we need to go, and directly contributes to the distribution of the vast wealth of manufacturing, services, and natural resources of this nation. It allows me to live in a Southern California desert and eat food from the midwest and wear clothes from Asia and fill my car with fuel from Alaska to visit my relatives 400 miles away. So there is direct economic benefit to me. Comparing that to state funded medicine is a false and misleading analogy.

Re:Meanwhile in the US... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397889)

WTF are you talking about?
They are a giant sinkhole of money. The only way they are a success is if you are in the oil, auto or road building business.

Re:Meanwhile in the US... (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397963)

The GP insists, first and foremost, that it not be subsidized by Government money (tax payers).

That immediately sets an impossibly high barrier. One that can't be met by any transportation system, water system, sewer system, or communication system.

Ignorance of the proper place for government expenditures is an unfortunate trait of ultra-conservative types. When any government involvement with societal life other than national defense is arbitrarily off the table, you have an impossible situation and a recipe for an agrarian society.

Roads, and railroads, necessarily require government money and government powers. If one stubborn farmer can stand in the way of a road or railroad (as would be the case in a purely private development) it would be legally impossible to build anything, not just cost prohibitive.

I suspect the GP never thinks about that while driving to work on that government road, or flushing his toilet to that government sewer while surfing the web on that government bandwidth.

Re:Meanwhile in the US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42398031)

Railways in the european country I live in suck:
-it is expensive
-it is rather slow due to many stops
-cities are to wide spread and commerce areas are mostly at the edges

Sure if you want to go from station to station it has its merits:
-easy travel to city centers
-not having to park a car

But you can't take stuff with you and if your destination is not within a few hundred meters you'll lose lots of time and/or money finding other transport.

If you want to emulate some foreign place, take Japan. Traveling in a green car by shinkansen it the way to go. It is expensive though.

Re:Meanwhile in the US... (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397669)

Tired of the corporate sycophants on Slashdot.

I know that it is sacrilege in the U.S. to say so, but some things are worth doing even if you can't make a profit on them.

Re:Meanwhile in the US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397727)

At what cost? Is it worth spending hundreds of billions to build it, tens to hundreds of millions to maintain, just so you can purchase a $400 ticket? Subsidize the ticket price? Ok, so now we raise the taxes to subsidize something that very few people will ride. It may be worth it to you, but considering the other endeavors we could put that money into, it isnt worth it one bit.

Re:Meanwhile in the US... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397853)

Heck they understand that the roads were worth making even though there wasn't a profit on them.

Their thoughts are formed by what lobbyists tell them to think.

Sure (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397731)

Enjoy your slide into obsolesce. If you remove all the emotionalism from those proposing pure capitalism, your are left holding a big, empty, "I don't want to spend any more" motto. It is religious fanaticism.

Countries thrive when they invest, undertake massive projects, improve themselves. They slide into nothingness when the accountants take over as their infrastructure falls apart and all the bright people find themselves working abroad.

The ultimate failure of religious fantatics like the parent is that they think the race ends. That once you won, that is it. The race never ends. And China right now is winning by default because everyone else has stopped. You can smirk about North-Korea's rocket attempts but at least they are trying. In the west, people worry about the costs to much to do ANYTHING anymore. Great nations were not build by accountants.

Re:Sure (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42398035)

High speed rail in this country is plagued with cost overruns. We live in a country where environmental activists can halt a project and hold it up in courts for months even years, adding cost. We live in a country where people dont want new infrastructure built near their homes fearing safety, increased traffic and/or falling property values. Our infrastructure is falling apart because of mismanagement of current funds, not becuase we dont want to pay to fill a pot hole.

Many dont want to invest in high speed rail because they think it will be a grand failure. We have a high speed rail system in the north eastern corridor, but Amtrak is unable to reach max speed because of the high populated safety corridors it must pass through. Thus high speed is just normal speed. Given all that Amtrak is subsidized and ridership is still low.

You have a point in that great nations are not built by accountants. But great nations have fallen from overtaxing its citizens by overspending.

Re:Meanwhile in the US... (1)

tukang (1209392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397803)

When you can build a HSR train, not have it subsidized (heavily) by tax payers, have it affordable and convenient (fast) for people to use, THEN and only then will I accept it as an option.

If it's not subsidized by tax payers, it's none of your business, so making additional demands on top of that is silly.

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397313)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig's an obese swine with no dick!

Good for China (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397319)

That's a huge distance, I'm impressed. I wonder why we don't make these kinds of railway advances in the US. Is it because there's no money in it? I'd much rather travel by train, than air. ...unless homeland security set into the railway's checkpoints.

Re:Good for China (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397601)

I wonder why we don't make these kinds of railway advances in the US.

They are. [thetelegraph.com] Lots of news in the local paper [sj-r.com] which unfortunately pulls online stories after they've been up a while. The track is running right through town here.

Re:Good for China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397673)

... I wonder why we don't make these kinds of railway advances in the US...

For historical reasons, the USA rights of way are owned by the rail road companies. Initially (1800's) this was a great way to get the rail system built by private companies -- give them a lot of land in exchange for building the tracks. Now it's not such a good thing--the same companies are 100++ years older and don't give a crap about anything except moving freight. They don't even like to let other companies (or nationalized Amtrak) use their tracks.

As far as moving passengers, USA rail is just the opposite of the interstate system where the commons (government) owns and maintains the roads, and the cars are private.

The Chinese have another "advantage" -- I believe it's a lot easier for their government to clear out a nice straight right of way for high speed rail. Imagine the trouble buying up that much land in USA. Of course this isn't so nice if you live in rural China and your village is wiped out by railroad construction.

Reference (5, Informative)

PacRim Jim (812876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397339)

For reference, that's about half the width of the U.S., or about the length of Japan.

Re:Reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397807)

Considering the massive corruption in the State Railways Ministry, as well as the total lack of safety features that have resulted in hundreds of deaths in the past 2 years, I wouldn't call this much of an accomplishment. I'd much rather drive on China's awful roads than risk a fiery death on China's unsafe rails (and yes, I've ridden China's high speed rails, 4 weeks prior to the big Wenzhou crash).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_China#Corruption_and_concerns

Catan (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397351)

I guess China has cemented their hold on the card for The Longest Road now...

While I'm here, does anyone care to trade wood for sheep?

Cemented? (1)

Smallpond (221300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397459)

No. They tied it. China, long a sleeper in technology is now siding with the West in new developments. This will signal a switch to new railroad advances.

Re:Catan (2)

csnydermvpsoft (596111) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397671)

Don't worry, the U.S. will always make sure to spend all of our ore, sheep, and grain (working from memory here) to make sure that we maintain our hold on the Largest Army card.

Re:Catan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397863)

Bah, so what? Rails don't matter, it's roads, and they only have half of the US. And with Seafarers you factor in trade routes with the longest road, and the US still blows them away with the worlds longest and largest trade routes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_road_network_size

Re:Catan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42398047)

Yea roads. Hurr durr, Americans. Visit ... the rest of the world, you know the places where they don't pork out on nasty TGIFridays food? Rail is fantastic when its not handled by us.

Marketing (-1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397363)

Its all marketing

The first trains on the new route hit 300 kph (186 mph)

That's the problem with "high speed rail" it means anything over 100 mph even if just for a short segment. Its not going 500 MPH the whole way. Its not even twice as fast as existing USA trains.

I've taken the train between Chicago and Milwaukee many times, if you have a handheld GPS you see it hit 100 MPH for several segments. Also, I took the overnight train from Chicago to NYC for the 2600 hope convention some years ago, it did hit 100 mph at one point.

I will say that 1500 miles is about perfect at "high" china speed, much as 1000 miles is about perfect on USA 80 mph trains. You step aboard before a late dinner, eat a nice relaxing steak dinner watching corn fields roll by, great nights sleep, breakfast time, and here I am in NYC across the street (literally) from the conference. Fun fun fun.

Re:Marketing (1, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397401)

You could have hit the airport and been there in far less time. Leaving you time to eat at a nice restaurant and sleep in a hotel.

Do they even have booze on Amtrack?

Re:Marketing (4, Informative)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397635)

Yeah I donno about that. "My time" for the train is like 15 minutes to get aboard and literally 5 minutes to cross the street on the NYC side. "My time" for the airplane is a half hour out to the airport in the middle of nowhere and parking, two hours sitting around for security theater playtime, you can't do what you want on a plane so thats about two hours lost during flight time, and finally a nice $50 hour long cab ride on the NYC side, so that's like 5 hours of "my time" if flying.

As for the restaurant, the amtrak food was "nice" sure not a $200 steak house but no worse than a family restaurant, and the cabin was comfortable enough to sleep in. I had a little sleeper cabin with desk, one entire wall is a giant window, and all that.

Booze? Oh god yes. Some day you should take an observation car out west where the obs car has a bar in the middle of the top floor (the observation area). The west coast trains are double decker two floor and much nicer than the east coast single floor dumpy-trains. None the less booze is booze... Nicotine addicts would have serious issues with Amtrak, but the alkies will be just fine, well lubricated, whatever. Also if you have a cabin unless they're peeking in the windows you can drink or eat whatever you can haul aboard...

Re:Marketing (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397937)

When I am retired I plan to do just that.

I love train travel, I use it all the time in Europe. I wish I could use it here. In the states though we seem to have no trouble subsidizing roads, but for some reason we view trans as some socialist evil. I think it has a lot to do with trains being a more democratic form of travel, I sit in the same seat as the rich. On the road they can show off their cars.

The booze factor may get me to tolerate a 4 hour rid to toronto though. On vacation I like to keep my BAC up.

Re:Marketing (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42398003)

You could have hit the airport and been there in far less time. Leaving you time to eat at a nice restaurant and sleep in a hotel.

Do they even have booze on Amtrack?

Yes they do, and they also have a pretty good restaurant, and the hotel rooms, while small, are quite nice.

Re:Marketing (3)

rtaylor (70602) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397429)

This new train has an 8 to 10 hour scheduled travel time and covers 2100 km.

That means it averages 210km/h including stops along the way (it's not direct).

Re:Marketing (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42398051)

This new train has an 8 to 10 hour scheduled travel time and covers 2100 km.

That means it averages 210km/h including stops along the way (it's not direct).

If there are any stops along the way you will need much greater speeds than 210km/h.
I suggest the route is undoable in 10 hours if there is even a few stops unless the train spends a great deal of time at 300km/h.

Train Wreck (1, Interesting)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397435)

What would a Train Wreck at 186 MPH in a densely populated area look like?

Re:Train Wreck (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397457)

What would an airplane crash look like?

Heavy thing going fast can indeed lead to trouble, no point in worrying about just this one.

Re:Train Wreck (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397461)

Didn't China just have a railway accident in the last couple of years that killed a bunch of folks. Turned out it was shoddy construction?

Re:Train Wreck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397619)

In a sparsely populated area you get something like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eschede_train_disaster with 101 deaths.

Nice. Connects to Shenzern. Hong Kong in 2015. (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397437)

There's already a high speed rail connection from Guangzhou to Shenzhen North. The high speed rail connection through to Hong Kong is scheduled for completion in 2014, and will shorten travel time for that last link from 2 hours to 38 minutes. (Except that there's a border control point between Shentzen and Hong Kong that takes longer than the travel time.)

Another step has been taken in tying China more closely together. That's part of the political motivation. Traditionally, China's provinces were not closely connected. Each province was expected to be self-sufficient in food and other essentials. That continued through the Mao era, and it's not completely gone. There are still some inter-provincial trade restrictions.

Of course, the South still speaks Cantonese, while the North speaks Mandarin. This despite half a century of effort by the central government. "The mountains are high and the Emperor is far away".

What just happened? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397479)

We were going 186 miles an hour and hit a little chink on the rail.

Re:What just happened? (2)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397593)

sigh.
There are hundreds of thousands of miles of train miles covered each day in Europe at speeds like these. Oh, and they have a pretty good safety record. There has been only one fatal crash on High speed lines in Europe and that was in Germany and wasn't down to a track defect.

The completion of the high speed line from London to Paris (including 36km under the Channel) has captured the majority of the passenger traffic between the two capital cities. Two hours and a bit for City-Centre to City-Centre makes most airline travel simply untennable.

Once you travel by high speed train you will be hooked. It is a far better way to travel than by air especially in Cattle Class.
I'm going to Madagascar next April. The Flight to Tana leaves from Paris. I won't be flying to Paris, I'll be taking the train right to the Airport in Paris from London. The wonders of a semi integrated transport system. Something that the USA has never really enjoyed. It is far too 'socialist/commie' for most of the Americans I know. (Oh, I spent three years living in N.H and working in taxacheusetts).

Re:What just happened? (2)

godrik (1287354) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397859)

The situation in America is a little bit different. In Europe you typically want to go to the center of a city. In Paris once you are in Gare du Nord, you are quickly anywhere you want provided you are not already where you want to go. And it is pretty much like that for every major city. Also, despite having a good HSR trian system, all trip that do not go toward or away from paris are a nightmare (try a Lyon-Bordeaux or Lyon-Strasbourg for instance).

In the US, you typically do not care about being downtown. I have been living in Columbus, OH (ok not the biggest city) for 4 years and I only went downtown 5 times (once to visit downtown, once to go to a museum, once to drop somebody at a justice court, once to go to social security administration and once for july 4th celebration). There is no point going downtown in the US for most city I believe. And since the cities are so spread out, you'll have to rent a car to go anywhere. So you'll end up needing to drive to and from the train station. So you don't save the overhead of going to/from the airport. That makes the train much less interesting. It would pretty much be a slower plane. And it will not be cheap. Actually if you aim at cheap, you have a bus system that connects major cities. It is much slower than a high speed train. But it is also much cheaper.

So a train would end up being a compromise between the slow/cheap bus and the fast/expensive plane. It is not clear there is a real market.

Re:What just happened? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42398061)

Sounds like either you are a liar or France needs to fix that. In Germany you can get from just about anywhere to anywhere else on the train. To go from Frankfurt to my Uncles home, you can take a plane or train to Stuttgart then another train to a nearby train and in good weather walk or in poor weather take a taxi or bus the last couple miles. I know shocking that an American would consider walking an acceptable method of transportation.

What we actually need is better public transit in the cities as well. I go downtown all the time, that is where the non-chain good restaurants are, the interesting shops and the arts/museums. As I live in Buffalo I would consider that pretty comparable to Columbus size wise.

Busses are only cheaper because they get to ride on the road that tax dollars provides.

Re:What just happened? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42398093)

Slashdot, get a fucking edit button.

To go from Frankfurt to my Uncles home, you can take a plane or train to Stuttgart then another train to a nearby small city Goppingen and in good weather walk or in poor weather take a taxi or bus the last couple miles.

Re:What just happened? (1)

Sepodati (746220) | about a year and a half ago | (#42398011)

It is nice traveling, but unless you can catch specials or book four months out, it isn't very cheap. 100 - 150 euro per person, one way.

Compensating (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397515)

Just a bunch of asians over-compensating for having small genitals?

Re:Compensating (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397745)

just an fyi

Asian chicks hate big dicks.

I just hope they improved their technology (2)

Edsj (1972476) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397517)

Because their high-speed trains had an accident not so long ago [wikipedia.org] and the goverment tried to cover up.

Wuhan - Guangzhou @ 300+ since Dec 2009. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397575)

I took this train in Jan of 2010 almost 3 years ago(again in Feb of 2011) from Wuhan to Guangzhou at 350 kph. The Beijing to Wuhan section is just an extension of the existing line. Source (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wuhan%E2%80%93Guangzhou_High-Speed_Railway)

erroneus (253617) FatASS needs PIZZA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397609)

"Oh... to eat pizza again..." by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 22, @05:20PM (#42371769) from http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3335159&cid=42371769 [slashdot.org] since that disgusting fatbody pig's an obese swine with no dick!

A Detractor (0)

DaMattster (977781) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397647)

I know I'm trolling a bit by making this statement but I actually feel strongly about it. I'm sick of hearing about China this and China that. China does not play by a fair set of economic, safety, and environmental rules. I have a hard time lauding any Chinese progress. They artificially manipulate their currency and sell goods at below market value which hinders the world's economy. I wonde how safe this train really is!

Re:A Detractor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397763)

"They artificially manipulate their currency and sell goods at below market value which hinders the world's economy. "

How does China "manipulate" their currency if their currency is bracketed (semi-fixed) against the US Dollar? And have you actually checked the USDRMB chart lately? The Chinese RMB has grown >30% since 2005 against the US Dollar, If you want to point fingers, tthe three rounds of US quantitative easing is currency manipulation in every way but for name.

Re:A Detractor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397855)

By bracketing against the US Dollar. Paging Mr. Soros...

Re:A Detractor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397873)

Playing not by rules is something that US and West did for years, I guess now, it is time for china and east, so get use to it or die

Re:A Detractor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42398079)

I know I'm trolling a bit by making this statement but I actually feel strongly about it. I'm sick of hearing about China this and China that. China does not play by a fair set of economic, safety, and environmental rules. I have a hard time lauding any Chinese progress. They artificially manipulate their currency and sell goods at below market value which hinders the world's economy. I wonde how safe this train really is!

The US didn't play by the book either during the 19th century up until the 1960s. You know all those progressive legislations, the clean air act, the establishment of the EPA etc.. all came about in the 1970s. People forget that the US while a major industrial powerhouse for most of the 20th century was from the standpoint of enviromental sageguard a cesspool.
The 21st century belongs to China my friend. Nothing the US can do will reverse this trend.

Cue derailment due to poor safety procedures in 5. (1)

sethmeisterg (603174) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397685)

4. 3. 2. 1.

ROMAN justice baby (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397795)

Slut American investors financed chi.com growth by exporting American jobs, capitol and IP. Paybacks to the slut cosmopolitans ... ROMAN JUSTICE baby ....

Re:ROMAN justice baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42398085)

And many Americans paid for their jobs to be sent overseas by choosing high return foreign investments in their 401k vs domestic investments.

In another news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397841)

At least US still have got the shortest HSR. Always leader anyway.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...