China on Saturday launched what it described as the world’s fastest super high-speed train. The new bullet train runs at an average speed of 217 miles-an-hour, and can reach up to 245 miles-an-hour, cutting the 1,068 kilometers (664 miles) journey time between Wuhan in central China and Guangzhou in the country’s south (a business hub near Hong Kong) from the original 9 hours to about 3 hours.
The high speed line, which uses technology developed in co-operation with foreign firms such as Siemens, Bombardier and Alstom, is expected to act as a catalyst in the development of central China.
Chinese railway authorities said the average speed of the high-speed railways is 243 km per hour in Japan, 232 km per hour in Germany and 277 km per hour in France. China’ Harmony Express reached a maximum speed of 394.2 km per hour during trail runs that begun on December 9.
The Wuhan-Guangzhou railway is China’s fastest and longest high-speed railway. It has taken almost $15 billion and four years of construction to complete it, according to China’s official news agency Xinhua.
Meanwhile, here in the U.S. high-speed rail advocates have long dreamed of the day when bullet trains, just like in China, would revolutionize transportation. They in fact, have been pushing high-speed rail for 25 years and always fallen short. It is a shame we are so far behind. The Japanese have had “Shinkansen” bullet trains since the mid 1960s. France launched Europe’s first high-speed railroad between Paris and Lyon in 1981, the Train à Grande Vitesse. Israel has a new Tel Aviv-to-Jerusalem line in the works, and Saudi Arabia recently let contracts for a European-style supertrain between the western port of Jeddah and the religious centers of Mecca and Medina. What about America? Well, we can always find comfort in the fact that Amtrak will probably still be in operation 150 years from now.
Click for China’s bullet-train photos!
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