Not since the nineteenth century railway boom, has enthusiasm for track run so high. This gives us a taste of present plans. I do not think that these in particular are realistic. What is realistic is the implementation of high speed track along the main corridors throughout the
. But even that must begin in small steps and the sooner the better. USA has a dense population located in a huge number of cities well able to optimize a high speed rail system. The same holds true for China . India
Yet once you make a high speed trip long enough to require actual sleeping on the train and all that, cost efficiency is impacted and the plane is preferred.
In the meantime, let us cheer the enthusiasm. There is a lot of track to be laid just organizing
China and and what has already been done is actually reassuring. All these reams are possible technically and a young man can anticipate a lifetime career building new lines. India
For a real railway headache, consider laying an effective track system between the
and the Argentine. It is painful to think about it even with present day methods. Yet a proper system would be very useful Mississippi
King's Cross to
in two days on new high-speed rail network Beijing
Passengers will be able to travel by train from King's Cross to
in just two days on trains that travel almost as fast as aeroplanes under ambitious new plans from the Chinese. Beijing
By Malcolm Moore, in
Published: 10:00PM GMT 08 Mar 2010
China is in negotiations to build a high-speed rail network to India and Europe with trains that capable of running at over 200mph within the next ten years Photo: MARTIN POPE
The network would eventually carry passengers from
London to Beijing and then to . It would also run to Singapore India and Pakistan, according to Wang Mengshu, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a senior consultant on 's domestic high-speed rail project. China
A second project would see trains heading north through
Russia to Germany and into the European railway system, and a third line will extend south to connect Vietnam, Thailand, Burma and . Malaysia
Passengers could board a train in
London and step off in , 5,070 miles away as the crow flies, in just two days. They could go on to Beijing , 6,750 miles away, within three days. Singapore
"We are aiming for the trains to run almost as fast as aeroplanes," said Mr Wang. "The best case scenario is that the three networks will be completed in a decade," he added.
Mr Wang said that China was already in negotiations with 17 countries over the rail lines, which will draw together and open up the whole of Central, East and
South East Asia. Mr Wang said the network would also allow to transport valuable cargoes of raw materials more efficiently. China
"It was not
that pushed the idea to start with," said Mr Wang. "It was the other countries that came to us, especially China . These countries cannot fully implement the construction of a high-speed rail network and they hoped to draw on our experience and technology," he said. India
The world's fastest train, the Harmony Express which has a top speed of nearly 250mph, was unveiled at the end of last year, between the cities of Wuhan and Guangzhou. Wholly Chinese-built, but using technology from Siemens and
Kawasaki, the Harmony Express can cover 660 miles, the equivalent of a journey from London to and back, in just three hours. Edinburgh
Mr Wang said the route of the three lines had yet to be decided, but that construction for the South East Asian line had already begun in the southern province of Yunnan and that Burma was about to begin building its link. China has offered to bankroll the Burmese line in exchange for the country's rich reserves of lithium, a metal widely used in batteries.
Currently, the only rail line that links
China to South East Asia is an antiquated track built by the French in a century ago. The Asian Development Bank has recently agreed a second £27 million loan as part of the £93 reconstruction of Vietnam 's network, which should finish by 2013. The cost of the lines from Cambodia Cambodia to Singapore and then from Vietnam to could be roughly £400 million. China
"We have also already carried out the prospecting and survey work for the European network, and Central and Eastern European countries are keen for us to start," Mr Wang said. "The Northern network will be the third one to start, although
China and Russia have already agreed on a high-speed line across Siberia, where one million Chinese already live."
One stumbling block is
China's desire for the high-speed tracks to run on the same gauge as 's domestic network. Vietnam has agreed to change its standard gauge, but other countries are still in negotiations. China
"From our point of view, the biggest issue is money," said Mr Wang.
"We will use government money and bank loans, but the railways may also raise financing from the private sector and also from the host countries. We would actually prefer the other countries to pay in natural resources rather than make their own capital investment."
As for passengers, Mr Wang predicted that in a decade's time, visa restrictions on travel through
Asia "will be further lifted".