China has launched what is being called the world’s fastest rail line, a high-speed train that can reach speeds of 245 miles per hour (394 kilometers) over long distances, and will cut the 601-mile commute from Wuhan, in central China, to Guangzhou, on the southeastern coast, from 10.5 hours to less than three hours.
The “WuGuang” line trains, a variation of Japan’s Shinkansen and Germany’s InterCity Express, have reached speeds that far surpass France’s TGV, which had been the world’s fastest train, with an average speed of 169 miles per hour.
Rail experts say it’s an early step in a 2-trillion-yuan ($293 billion) government-funded initiative to connect all of China’s major cities with high-speed rail by 2020.
An east-west line connecting Xi’an to Zhengzhou could begin operation later this month, and construction has begun on a project that could expand the Beijing-Tianjin line southward to Shanghai by 2012.
“Over the next five years there’ll be more high-speed rail added in China than the rest of the world combined,” said Keith Dierkx, director of IBM’s Global Rail Innovation Center in Beijing. Dierkx said rail demand in China will more than triple to five billion passengers annually by 2020.
Article appearing courtesy of Yale Environment 360
[photo credit: China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock]