With all this hubbub about American high-speed rail investment–or not— it’s good to take a look at HSR happenings in other countries to keep it all in perspective.
According to the Shanghai Daily, China’s Ministry of Railways is reporting that its Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail line, the longest in the world at 1,318km (819 mi), is 91% complete. Remaining hurdles are large, including bridges and terminals. It’s a “true” high-speed line, with similar speeds to the CAHSR project. What’s insane about this claim, however, is that construction on the line only started this past April. Considering the limited amount of news about the subject in English, it’s hard to say if they’re ahead of schedule, but their original plan for opening was a ridiculously fast 2013 to begin with.
This excerpt from the China Daily might help explain why China can get the world’s longest HSR line up in less than five years (emphasis mine):
The ministry has said it plans to have 120,000km of rail lines in service by 2020, of which 16,000km would be dedicated passenger lines.
By the end of this year, China will have more than 79,000km of rail lines. To meet the 2020 target will require investment of about 5 trillion yuan (US$727 billion), the ministry said.
Well, uh, watch out China! Here in the United States, we’re getting serious about HSR! $100 million serious!