It is “amazing” if you are a mainstream American journalist, I suppose. And what’s more, ya’ know, that there China is one gosh-darned big country (darned near as big as Texas).
Creating a rail system in a country of 1.3 billion people guarantees that the scale will be gargantuan. Almost 16,000 miles of new track will have been laid when the build-out is done in 2020. China will consume about 117 million tons of concrete just to construct the buttresses on which the tracks will be carried. The total amount of rolled steel on the Beijing-to-Shanghai line alone would be enough to construct 120 copies of the “Bird’s Nest” — the iconic Olympic stadium in Beijing. The top speed on trains that will run from Beijing to Shanghai will approach 220 miles an hour. Last year passengers in China made 1.4 billion rail journeys, and Chinese railroad officials expect that in a nation whose major cities are already choked with traffic, the figure could easily double over the next decade.
It’s really a comprehensive and useful story. China has mounted a major “stimulus” package with high speed rail as a crucial factor. The scope of this thing is just amazing (and I know that China is slightly larger than Texas).