Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

China’s new HSR line continues to make U.S. look backwards

Last week, China began laying the groundwork for a new high speed rail line from Beijing to Shanghai. The service will be capable of reaching speeds of up to 220 mph and will take about five years to build. It’s harrowing to see that the PRC is modernizing its already extensive passenger rail system while Amtrak has to fight a hostile executive branch for every penny of its modest funding. Not to mention that Amtrak’s Acela high-speed train service still runs on antiquated tracks, and could never reach the speeds promised on this route.

While China’s government may be oppressive and disdainful of human rights, they at least seem to realize that a thorough passenger rail network is a service to its citizens (And despite my taste for trains, I don’t think I’d like to trade the former for that latter). In terms of comparing the cost of traveling by rail, I would suggest you look at this site, which shows the cost of rail tickets in China, but I suspect you would find the information just a tad bit depressing.

China railmap image from, American rail network image from Amtrak.

Filed under: Amtrak, International High Speed Rail

3 Responses

  1. fpteditors says:

    How bullets trains were placed in service in China in 2007? In the U.S. ?

    answers at:

  2. Angelos says:

    Depressing indeed – the cheapest ticket for the nearly 1000 mile journey from Beijing to Shanghai is US $13. Almost 70 miles per dollar is more than reasonable, considering the average US car would guzzle three gallons of gas during the same period.

    I recently traveled via Amtrak from Chicago to St. Louis and payed over $60 round-trip. That same dollar in the U.S. purchases only 8 miles of travel. Depressing indeed.

  3. […] about passenger rail in our own country. This is just the latest addition to the country’s large and expanding rail network. From the BBC: The high-tech trains, which feature swivel seats and smart interiors, […]

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April 2008


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