Trains For America

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CNN: “China’s Amazing New Bullet Train”

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).


Filed under: International High Speed Rail

3 Responses

  1. tahoevalleylines says:

    More than bullet trains, America must reconstitute the reach and coverage we had circa 1950, when America was a lending not a borrowing nation. Peaking Oil is the big reason we must FIRST go for sustainable victuals distribution, not the limited vanity of HSR.

    Study program: James Howard Kunstler “The Long Emergency”. Dismissed by many in 2005, Kunstler’s book is now seen as painfully prescient. More upbeat, a blueprint to go forward, see Christopher C. Swan’s “ELECTRIC WATER” (New Society Press, 2007). Broad view of generic rail in the Oil Interregnum, see ( articles 374 and 1037 in ASPO Newsletter 42 and 89, respectively. Begin.

  2. Shane says:

    >> ” … and I know that China is slightly larger than Texas”

    And where did you get that impression? Below is the numbers

    State of Texas — Area: (696,241 km2)
    According to

    China — Area:: (9,596,960 km2)
    According to Encyclopedia of Nations

    In fact, China is slightly larger than US

  3. A. Schirmer says:

    This interesting press release just came out yesterday:

    Maybe I haven’t been reading much lately, but I was not aware of ” More than $13 billion will be spent over the next five years to support higher- and high-speed rail infrastructure development in the United States.”

    Are these figures correct? Have they already been earmarked/allocated? If so, how is the spending planned? California, or more studies, or a combination?

    I also wonder what the timeframe GE and China are looking at. Five years is pretty fast.

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