High Speed Railways Redefining China’s Infrastructure

Published on Author harringtonj16
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One of the high speed trains redefining China

China has seen a rapid expansion of its high-speed train rails in the last five years. This efficient method of transportation is redefining how both Chinese nationals and tourists travel through China. This obviously also indicates how Chinese infrastructure in and of itself has developed and continued to evolve in a continually changing socioeconomic climate.

China is a country defined by travel. As we know, the internal migration in China is the largest human migration in history. High-speed trains are facilitating this movement. At the end of 2013, China had 11,000 kilometers of high-speed rail. Now, in a little over a year, there are more than 16,000 kilometers, and the tracks will undoubtedly continue to expand.

The Beijing to Shanghai route alone had over 100 million trips during this same year. This line has been in service since 2011, but it hasn’t made a profit until now. Although not a particularly common route for migration, tourism is also benefitting greatly from these investments in infrastructure and contributing to the travel numbers.

Tourism is a large sector of the Chinese economy; therefore increasing a common mode of transportation decreases the costs but also increases demand by allowing easier access. It’s a win win situation. Ticket prices are also incredibly low and continually being pushed down, yet volumes are ever increasing. The combination of both these factors is at the point where Chinese travel companies are beginning to market trips around train lines. CTrip, one such company, offers 385 different train tour package deals. And to top it off, these new high-speed rails are allowing easier access to less travelled destination within China.

In all, much of what China has been doing economically is heavy investment in nationwide projects. Chinese officials obviously believe that greater cohesion across the country will pay dividends. These new railroad projects are holistic realizations of these goals. Infrastructure is developed, and economic expansion follows: common theme seen in China. The same idea is behind recent economic zone plans as well. But a more widely developed China, the clear next stage in the plan, is one way how China will cope with the inevitable slowdown of its economy. Bigger, it seems, is better.

Source: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/travel/2015-04/04/content_20002351.htm

3 Responses to High Speed Railways Redefining China’s Infrastructure

  1. What of business travel?

    As per a comment on a previous post on high-speed rail, what of freight transportation? If the rail system can be structured to link with (for example) the Chinese equivalents of UPS and FedEx, that’s a potential big gain for the environment. For longer distances, high-speed rail might be a very attractive alternative to air freight, whereas for the business traveler or the non-retired vacationer cutting time may push them to air travel. I don’t know about the EU, but in Japan rail proved to inflexible to handle non-bulk freight.

  2. High-speed rail travel by European businessmen and businesswomen has been undermined by the availability of cheap air fare. In most instances (depending on the destination), flying turns out to be a cheaper alternative to travel by train. Companies like RyanAir advertise offer flights from Barcelona, Spain to Florence, Italy for under 100 euro’s, much cheaper and more convenient than taking a train.

  3. Personally, I love the idea of high-speed trains, not just for passenger travel but for other applications. Like the prof said, we can potentially expect them to carry on freight (at least non-bulk) as well. Given the low cost of tickets, businesses would be able to significantly cut down shipping expenses if some high-speed trains exclusively cater to this. It’s yet another reason to believe that China is evolving from its image of the hazy, smokestack-laden cities.