High Speed Rail Expanding Rapidly

The economic logic for high speed rail is bone simple.  You travel from one mega city transport nexus to another mega city transport nexus in a few hours at most in complete comfort for way less energy, way less gross personal travel time and general inconvenience and less cost in energy.

Of course, China has the mega cities as does India who will start building the same type of network in about a decade.  Europe may be expected to quickly become hot again.

North America has a plausible network in the North East and short stretches elsewhere.

It will be a long while before anyone tries to do intercontinental routes I think, though dreamers will want to connect India and China through to Europe through regions simple rail has yet to succeed.

I would love to see a proper rail connection running down to South America.

I have no doubt that the economies of scale brought on by China now will accelerate development everywhere.

Consider an example of a smaller market.  Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary and Seattle have two short links that could be traveled in under an hour.  The long link would take four hours.  This would eliminate all need for air travel between these four centers.

The problem is of course the volume to justify the investment in high grade trackage.  Yet the cost is dropping and the short links are already been promoted.

OCTOBER 29, 2010

click on the picture for a larger view of how Hong Kong will connect to China with high speed rail

The high-speed rail from Shanghai to Hong Kong is expected to begin service by the end of 2012 or in early 2013. By then, the fastest direct train from Shanghai to Hong Kong will take only 6 hours. Right now, traveling from Shanghai station to Kowloon Station takes nearly 19 hours. The Hong Kong-Shanghai high-speed rail journey is approximately 1,300 kilometers in length. So a transfer to the Shanghai-Beijing line would allow transit between Hong Kong and Beijing in about 10 hours.

Some amazing facts about China's build out of high speed rail :

* China now at 7400+ kilometers of high speed rail has more high speed rail than all of Europe

* China doubled its high speed rail with the completion and start of operation of new rail since May, 2010. China added nearly 4000 kilometers of high speed rail since May, 2010 which is more than the number 2 country France
* China will nearly double its high speed rail by the end of 2012 to over 13,000 kilometers. This will put it at more high speed rail than the rest of the world has. Europe, Japan, Asia, etc...

* China is pushing to speed up high speed rail speed to 500 kph (312 mph)

* China high speed rail between Shanghai and Beijing will have 12 train cars with one leaving every 5 minutes. An estimated 220,000 passengers will use it every day

* By 2020, assuming budgets are met about $300 billion will have been spent to build 25,000 kilometers of high speed rail network that will span most of the country

Hong Kong high speed rail to China may be finished early. Trains will run at speeds of as high as 350 kilometers per hour (217 miles an hour) on the new line, which will form part of a 140-kilometer railway running to Shenzhen and Guangzhou. The line will save the Hong Kong public 40 million hours per year, generating an annual economic rate of return of 9 percent, according to a government paper.

China's high-speed railway have reached up to 7,413 kilometers in operation and 10,000 kilometers under construction. 13,000 kilometers should be in operation by the end of 2012. At the end of 2012, China could have more operational high speed rail than the rest of the world combined.

Spain, France and Portugal and other Asian countries are building quite a bit. So China will likely around the level of all of Europe combined. Perhaps in 2020 about 40% China, 40% Europe and 20% rest of Asia and the Americas.

The Beijing to Shanghai high speed line will use 16-car trainset. The power of each trainset will be 20 MW, at capacity of about 1050 passengers, each passenger from Beijing and Shanghai consumes less than 80 kWh in average. The project is expected to cost 220.9 billion yuan (about $32 billion). An estimated 220,000 passengers are expected to use the trains each day, which is double the current capacity. During peak hours there should be a train every five minutes. 1060.6 km, or 80.5% of railway will be laid bridges.

OCTOBER 29, 2010

Korea, China, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Spain are the only countries capable of exporting high-speed rail technology. It takes more than just trains to operate a high-speed rail service. Signal systems, communications networks, construction and operating knowhow are also necessary and must be developed in conjunction. Korea is seeking to export its technology to Brazil and the U.S. state of California.

Korea ranks fourth in the world in terms of technology in high-speed rail networks after France, Germany and Japan. The country was the fifth in the world to build a high-speed rail network and rose to fourth place just 16 years after it began development of the KTX bullet train.

Korea now stands on par with advanced countries when it comes to the maximum speed. The KTX makes 300 km/h, which is the same as other bullet trains. China's high-speed train is faster, traveling between 330 km/h to 350 km/h, but it trails behind Korea in terms of technology. However, Korea still has some catching up to do when it comes to train manufacture and signaling equipment.

Phase I calls for an approximately 500-mile system connecting Anaheim and Los Angeles through the Central Valley to San Francisco by 2020. Phase II would extend the system north to Sacramento and south to San Diego by 2026. Trains will reach
speeds of 220 miles per hour, providing a travel time between Los Angeles and San Francisco of under 2 hours 40 minutes, compared to 6 hours by car. When fully developed, California expects up to 100 million passengers per year, making it one of the busiest passenger rail lines in the world

Right now, the only nominally high-speed option in the United States is the Acela line, which runs through the busy Northeast corridor, from Washington to Boston. The trains are capable of traveling 150 miles, or 240 kilometers, per hour. But their average speeds are far lower, because of the need to share the track with other trains and because of the large, busy metropolises along the route.

The major plans for new rail lines in the United States center on California and Florida. Both are contemplating fast trains with dedicated tracks. Peter Gertler, the high-speed rail services chairman of HNTB, an engineering and construction management company based in Kansas City, Missouri, says that Florida is likely to have a high-speed rail line operating first, perhaps by 2015. About 95 percent of the right of way has been acquired between Orlando and Tampa Bay, Mr. Gertler said

The U.S. definition of a minimum speed for high-speed rail is at a lower figure than that used in Europe of 200 km/h (120 mph).

High-Speed Rail – Express: Frequent, express service between major population centers 200–600 miles (320–965 km) apart, with few intermediate stops. Top speeds of at least 150 mph (240 km/h) on completely grade-separated, dedicated rights-of-way (with the possible exception of some shared track in terminal areas). Intended to relieve air and highway capacity constraints. 

High-Speed Rail – Regional: Relatively frequent service between major and moderate population centers 100–500 miles (160–800 km) apart, with some intermediate stops. Top speeds of 110–150 mph (177–240 km/h), grade-separated, with some dedicated and some shared track (using positive train control technology). Intended to relieve highway and, to some extent, air capacity constraints. 

Emerging High-Speed Rail: Developing corridors of 100–500 miles (160–800 km), with strong potential for future HSR Regional and/or Express service. Top speeds of up to 90–110 mph (145–177 km/h) on primarily shared track (eventually using positive train control technology), with advanced grade crossing protection or separation. Intended to develop the passenger rail market, and provide some relief to other modes

China opened it's 15th High speed rail, the Huhang (Shanghai-Hangzhou) PDL by 26 October, 2010 which will use the CRH380A trainset manufactured by CSR Sifang. Currently China has the world’s longest high-speed rail network with about 7,431 km (4,618 mi) of routes capable for 200+ km/h running in service as of October 2010, including 1,995 km (1,240 mi.) of rail lines with top speeds of 350 km/h (220 mph).

China will have a rail network of 110,000 km by 2012, with 13,000 km of it high-speed rail. The highlight of China's high-speed rail network will be the 1,318-km Beijing-Shanghai line. Currently under construction, the 220.9 billion yuan (33.1 billion U.S. dollars) line is scheduled to open in 2012.

China launched its first high-speed line - a service linking the capital and the port city of Tianjin - during the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Since then, more fast-train lines have been put into service: the Wuhan-Guangzhou line linking central and south China; the Zhengzhou-Xi'an line connecting central and western China; and the Shanghai-Nanjing line in the country's east

I rode the Shanghai downtown to airport Maglev one week ago. It got up to a speed of 300 kilometers per hour (180 mph) and made the trip in 8 minutes At some times of the day it will go faster and get to almost a 7 minute trip with a 268 mph top speed.

The extension of the maglev to Hangzhou was finally approved in March 2010, with construction to start in 2010. The new link will be 199.5 km (124 mi) long, 24 km (15 mi) longer than the original plan. The top speed is expected to be 450 km/h (280 mph) but limited to 200 km/h (120 mph) in built-up areas. So there will be two high speed trains going from Shanghai to Hangzhou (one bullet train and another maglev).

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