World's Longest High-Speed Rail Line Opens

The opening of the 1,200-mile Beijing to Guangzhou high-speed rail line marked the latest milestone in "one of the world’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure projects." The longest such segment in the world takes only 8 hours to traverse.
usarmyband / Flickr

At a speed of 300 kilometers, or 186 miles, an hour, China's latest infrastructure marvel covers a distance similar to that between New York and Key West, Fla. in only 8 hours. Amtrak trains from New York to Miami take 30 hours. According to Keith Bradsher, the latest milestone - which means the country has completed 5,809 miles of high-speed lines in just over four years - is not just significant for train enthusiasts; it's having a notable impact on China's economy and environment.

"Lavish spending on the project has helped jump-start the Chinese economy twice: in 2009, during the global financial crisis, and again this autumn, after a brief but sharp economic slowdown over the summer," says Bradsher. "The hiring of as many as 100,000 workers for each line has kept a lid on unemployment as private-sector construction has slowed because of limits on real estate speculation. The national network has helped to reduce air pollution in Chinese cities and helped to curb demand for imported diesel fuel by freeing capacity on older rail lines for goods to be carried by freight trains instead of heavily polluting, costlier trucks."

"But the high-speed rail system has also been controversial in China. Debt to finance the construction has reached nearly 4 trillion renminbi, or $640 billion, making it one of the most visible reasons total debt has been surging as a share of economic output in China, and is approaching levels in the West."

Full Story: China Opens Longest High-Speed Rail Line

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
City Plate table setting

New Arrival! City Plates

City downtown cores printed on gorgeous decorative collectible porcelain plates.
$50.00
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET