The ascent of China's 5,900-mile high-speed rail network is breathtaking. "Just five years after China’s high-speed rail system opened, it is carrying nearly twice as many passengers each month as the country’s domestic airline industry," writes Keith Bradsher. "With traffic growing 28 percent a year for the last several years, China’s high-speed rail network will handle more passengers by early next year than the 54 million people a month who board domestic flights in the United States."
"Economists and transportation experts cite it as one reason for China’s continued economic growth when other emerging economies are faltering," he adds. "But it has not been without costs — high debt, many people relocated and a deadly accident."
"The high-speed rail lines have, without a doubt, transformed China, often in unexpected ways."