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Wuhan-Guangzhou High-Speed Rail Corridor Opens In China; 350 km/h (217 mph) Average Speed

27 December 2009

High-speed rail service was inaugurated yesterday between Wuhan, a metropolis in central China, and Guangzhou, an urban business hub in the country’s southern Guangdong Province. Trains run at an average of 350 km/h (217 mph), reducing the previous ten-hour transit time to just three hours. First-class tickets for the length of the line cost 780 yuan (US$114), while second-class tickets cost 490 yuan (US$72).

The new service, which China’s Ministry of Railways terms “the world’s fastest rail journey”, was put into trial operation beginning 9 December, reaching a maximum speed of 394.2 km/h (245 mph). Stretching approximately 1,000 kilometers and powered by 25 kilovolts AC at a frequency of 50 Hz, the new Wuhan-Guangzhou line is expected to compete aggressively with existing passenger airlines, which saw market share drop as much as 50% when similar rail lines opened last April between Wuhan and Hefei as well as between Shijazhuang and Taiyuan.

China now operates high-speed rail service out of four maintenance hubs, and plans to offer high-speed rail between 70% of its key cities by 2020, covering more than 80% of existing passenger air routes. More than 42 high-speed rail links, capable of supporting 350 km/h speeds and covering approximately 13,000 kilometers, are scheduled for completion by the end of 2012.

Wuhan1
  Wuhan2
A high-speed train pulls out of China’s new Wuhan station on the first day of service. Source: Xinhua/Cheng Min. Click to enlarge.   Control room of high-speed train, at Wuhan maintenance hub. Source: Xinhua/Cheng Min. Click to enlarge.

—Jack Rosebro

December 27, 2009 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

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"China now operates high-speed rail service out of four maintenance hubs, and plans to offer high-speed rail between 70% of its key cities by 2020, covering more than 80% of existing passenger air routes. More than 42 high-speed rail links, capable of supporting 350 km/h speeds and covering approximately 13,000 kilometers, are scheduled for completion by the end of 2012."

Sounds like they have a plan.

Of course, having a wide variety of transportation options all survive (and prosper) -and- serve everyone's different needs is the key. Having one type of transit cannibalize the other means everyone loses. Hopefully, China will succeed in this and show that maybe market forces should not be allowed to completely dictate what industries survive and which fail.

The scale of this program is really something. It will also keep jobs in China instead of importing planes from Boeing and Airbus.

It would be interesting to see how much this Chinese project will do to minimize energy use per passenger mile traveled. According to data from Wikipedia the BTU per passenger mile is 3261 for air travel and 2650 for intercity rail travel in the US.(1) Not much to save IMO.

If the Chinese high-speed rail program is mostly electrically driven via overhead lines it will also have the benefit of helping to isolate China’s economy from economic shocks caused by spikes in oil prices. Moreover, electricity could come from CO2 neutral sources although in China, so far, it typically does not.

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_efficiency_in_transportation

Henrick,
You would be aware that there is a mulyiplier for aircraft emissions related to altitude.
The formulas vary based on altitude and engine type so this is only for example.

"The IPCC, for example, has estimated that the climate impact of aircraft is two to four times greater than the effect of their carbon dioxide emissions alone."

Copyright © 2009 David Suzuki Foundation

"...market forces should not be allowed to completely dictate..."

Business commentators agree that the one thing China has going for it as a nation is follow through. If the government wants something done, it gets done. No whining from the right how it will destroy the "free market".

One can be amazed at the spped that China can implement new very high speed train networks.

USA and China have very similar rail networks. The main differences will soon be that China's network will be 20+% electrified high speed while USA's will remin mostly very slow diesel polluting powered.

Hig speed electrified trains using clean electricity from Hydro, Sun, Wind or Nuclear is better than cars, tgrucks, busses and airplances.

Are there any rail lines operating faster than 150 MPH/240 kph that are not electric?

Note that few if any of the new lines will be maglev, a technology which remains much more expensive and without significant performance benefit.

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