Unfortunately, huge high-speed rail (HSR) projects take time to get built and there isn’t always a lot of big news to share on this topic. But with more and more high-speed rail projects around the world (e.g. in the U.S.), there’s more news coming out more regularly now.
China is steaming ahead with continual expansion of what is already the largest high-speed rail network in the world and recently opened up a new 220-km line between Shanghai and Hangzhou. Not only that, but running on this new line is the fastest train in the world.
In test runs, the train (in the video below) was reportedly clocked going over 416.6 kph (258.86 mph), setting a new world record.
With this most recent expansion of China’s high-speed rail network, it’s total length is now up to 7431 kilometers (4617 miles).
It’s anticipated that by 2020, 90% of China’s population will have access to high-speed rail. (And remember, China isn’t stopping there, but wants to connect its high-speed rail network to 17 other countries, all the way to London, England — the largest infrastructure project in the world.)
Now, even though I don’t live in the U.S. anymore, every time I see news of China’s amazing high-speed rail network, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that the U.S. is so far behind in this field. Luckily, a friend of mine from graduate school (if you are not aware of this, I have a Master’s in city and regional planning) sent me a new video on California’s proposed high-speed rail network, a project she is working on.
Watch the full video below for a lot more info on that and some cool visualizations of the network.
Here are some highlights I pulled out of the video:
- People will be able to travel from downtown LA to downtown San Francisco in under 2.5 hours on the network.
- Trains will go up to 220 mph, close to the fastest trains in the world (but yes, not as fast as the new record-holder in China).
- 600 thousand construction jobs and 450 thousand (additional) permanent jobs will be created from the California high-speed rail project.
- This will be the largest public works project in California in 50 years.
- High-speed rail uses 1/3 the energy per passenger of airplanes, 1/5 the energy per passenger of automobiles.
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