Gallery: China Launches Plan to Extend High-Speed Rail Across Asia!


Last year we reported on China’s plans to extend its high-speed rail network all the way to Europe, and today the country announced that the first step of this grand plan is underway with work in progress to stretch the nation’s rail system across Asia. China stated that they will first begin to extend their tracks into northern Laos, with the eventual goal of expanding the high-speed rail into Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

Of course there are some major obstacles standing in the way of a pan-Asian high-speed network. Firstly, China’s rail network has been accused of construction fraud, lack of users and severe safety issues, but there is also the problem that Laos is one of the poorest countries in Asia. Currently, the country has only two miles of rail lines, but the government is hoping that by extending China’s high-speed network they will see an increase in tourism, gambling and local construction jobs.

While the benefits are clear for Laos, the question is: What does China get out of this? The answer is economic stability and security. While trade with the West is currently strong, there is always the possibility of a natural disaster or a conflict preventing the moving of goods. As such, a high-speed network with fellow Asian nations would allow China to trade goods with its neighbours.

The world is still many steps from a global high-speed rail network, but it’s nice to see China aiming high.

+ China Minstry Of Rail

via WNYC

Photo by Benjamin Lowy


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  1. ZET June 30, 2011 at 12:25 am

    A Story about China’s “High Speed Rail”

    I was living in China married to a Chinese wife when I had the Idea to create the best Transportation System in the world.
    When I saw the masses of people on the Spring festival better known as Chinese new year in the western culture I saw the need for a new method of transportation.
    I saw that Air travel is already way over it’s limits and new planes can not solve the problem of a slow, polluting and dangerous method of transportation.
    What we need is the fastest safest and cleanest method of transportation.
    I did just that but then my problems started.
    The Chinese Intelligence Agencies sabotaged my work.
    They destroyed my research.
    They ruined my marriage.
    And they threw me out of China ruled me an enemy of the State and permanently refused me entry into China.

    Comparison with Germany 1933 are more then accurate.

    My Invention, Patent in Hong Kong on May 05 2008 is the Solution for all transport and Infrastructure problems the world faces today.
    This should be especially interesting for country’s like India China and Africa as a whole that desperately need a modern 21st Century environmentally Integrated transport system that also provides Infrastructure.


    The Airstream Train is a new concept of Transportation.
    It opens possiblities previously unheard of.
    It is fast safe yet simple and very inexpensive to build and to maintain.
    It uses Aviation Technology which is combined with Hovercraft and Train Technology.
    It uses a Scramjet engine which is tested and verified to reach a speed of Mach 10.
    It uses an Air cushion the Ground effect and then an Airstream to levitate itself around a specially shaped Track.
    This Technology in it’s principles was proven to be working better and more sufficcient then Magnetic Levitation Trains in 1973 by Jean Bertin with his Hovercraft Train he called: “Aero Train”.
    The Speed of 472km/h is still higher then that of a Maglev Train Today.
    The Airstream Train takes advantage of all that came before together with the technology that we have today to create an absolute in Transportation Technology.
    A truly Integrated System that allows for the best safest fastest yet cheapest and cleanest silent journey.
    And that is the Transportation Side only.
    Due to the fact that we have to build the Track once, we then can use the Inside of the Track to provide the public with infrastructure.
    Electricity Internet Telephone even water and waste water can be supplied though the Track.
    And this will be an easily accessible and upgradable System for Future stability.

    D.W. Major
    Zero Emission Transportation Ltd

  2. derpetermann June 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Lazyreader, have you ever been to Switzerland? Have you ever been to Austria, Germany, the Netherlands or let’s say Moscow? Probably not. Otherwise you would know that there are countries, cities and metropolitan areas with economically succesful passenger rail services. In Vienna more than 35% percent of all commuters use public transport (mostly light rail, metro, cable car and a few busses). Switzerland has a high quality rail network connecting ALL major cities (cities with more than 20 000 inhabitants, so we are talking about rather small urban structures here) with at least one train every hour. Zurich main station is the station with most trains departing and arriving per day – world wide!!! And you know what? None of these trains is empty. You wouldn’t say that Switzerland – a country with the 4th highest GDP per capita – is prone to take economically stupid decision, would you? The same holds true for the Netherlands, for Austria, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium…. All of them have (more or less) very well developed passenger rail services, highspeed lines, and metropolitan areas with suburban light rail networks. Rising economies, such as China or Russia invest thousand of billions of yen and rouble to improve their rail networks. Do you think that all of these countries take stupid decisions? As for me there is only one country taking stupid decisions….. In a world of limited ressources it is not very wise that every one of us sourrounds himself with a 10 feet metal cube in order to go to work or to the next grocery store….. Do you think your Ford SUV will be as cheap as it is today when 1.2 billion Chinese are as selfish as you? Let alone fuel…. You are however, probably right. Passenger rail service will most probably not be succesful in the US because of two reasons:

    1) Mentality: In a society where everyone lives in his pretty little house in his pretty little garden in his pretty little suburb (far away from all the bad people), no one will want to share a compartment in a train with someone else he doesn’t know.
    2) Urban areas: American cities are vast and do not have a real center. Well, they do, but except for banks, insurance companies and some yuppies, no one actually likes to be there. The majority prefers to live in new settelemnts outside of town. These settlements tend to pop up and to disappear real fast. Whenever the suburban rail network has reached a certain part of town, its inhabitants have moved on to another yet untouched strip of land to build some more of their houses that all look the same.

  3. lazyreader June 20, 2011 at 8:20 am

    The bus is both green and economical, but not sexy. Your right and sex appeal is everything. Saving money can be sexy too. Google Amtrak and see how much it costs to travel from Baltimore to Boston. Then try Megabus and see how much it costs to do the same thing.

  4. caeman June 16, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Lazy, you are wasting your electronic bits. The enviro-hippies only see how ‘green’ a train can be and never acknowledge the economic costs involved, to them, money doesn’t exist. Because it isn’t their money being spent.

    The bus is both green and economical, but not sexy. The only people that truly benefit from rail construction is the unions.

  5. lazyreader June 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Never cliff. China and it’s high speed rail lines have been halted in the past due to violations. Many projects started construction before getting evaluations, and some evaluations did not recognise potential risks to the environment.

    The problem with high speed rail is that it doesn’t start where you are and really doesn’t always go where you want it to go let alone at a given time exactly when you need it. And I’m talking about light-rail, streetcars, heavy rail, subways, or commuter rail too. In California, despite an originally high hopes regarding an HSR line through the state. But the likelihood of that happening in a State that’s broke is sparse. Florida’s governor had the smarts to reject HSR funds. Rail transit is obsolete. Rail freight makes a lot of sense. I love trains, I especially like those Art Deco trains from the 20;s and 30;s and visited the B&O railroad museum and the stations and took Baltimore’s light rail once or twice. However I have to admit……financially it’s obsolete. It makes no sense to spend billions of dollars on a system that may only serve a few thousand people a day. Fares do not even cover the cost of construction, even if they do there are still capital costs for annual operation. We’ve spent nearly 100 billion dollars on various rail transit projects in America in the last 30 years and they carry overall less than a few percent of all commuters in those cities. Some of those States are spending almost half their transportation budget on rail and it barely carries a few thousand people a day. It’s never gonna carry much more than that even if they built a dozen more lines in their cities. Less than 3.7 percent of commuters in America use transit at any given day. Again, it does not make any sense to spend billions on a city-to-city rail system that overall is less convenient than driving and slower than flying. If Aussies want to get from city to city, there’s a thing called the bus. No one talks about the bus. Anything you can do with extensive rail systems, you can do cheaper and just as easily with buses. There cheap (at least less than 2 percent the start up costs) to start up and cheap to run. Even in Japan only one HSR line actually makes money, the rest are substantial money pits. Only indirect subsidies, creative accounting, political patronage and national chest-thumping keep them rolling. High-speed train fares are typically three times as much as conventional fares, but with high-speed trains taking some of the business of conventional trains, conventional train service is often reduced which hurts the actual transit dependent that need a low cost service. While the high-speed trains are faster, they are often less convenient than the conventional trains. Rather than build high-speed rail stations in city centers, China has built many of them at the edge of town. This can force many people to add an hour-long bus ride at each end of the trip, negating the speed advantage. In China the country’s existing rail network is currently being used to capacity by freight (mainly coal) and conventional passenger trains. In fact, the number of passenger trains has pushed a lot of coal traffic onto trucks and highways. The high-speed rail network was supposed to get passengers off the conventional rails, in turn allowing freight trains to get coal and other freight off the highways. But the high-speed rail fares are so high that ridership is low and the vast majority of rail riders are sticking to the conventional trains. The result is a surplus of passenger capacity without alleviating the shortage of freight capacity.

    America has the best rail system in the world because it has dedicated most of the lines to freight, where it has a huge competitive advantage over highways, instead of passengers, where its advantage is nil.

  6. Cliff Champion June 15, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    China’s expansion is inspiring in so many ways. When can we get a transnational railway???

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