back to article High-speed Chinese train kicks French, Japanese butt

China's new high-speed passenger-train service broke world speed records on its maiden run over the weekend. According to a report in Monday's Financial Times, the Harmony express train travelled from Guangzhou in Guangdong province to the central-China city of Wuhan - a distance of 1,100km (684mi) - in under three hours. The …

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  1. Timo

    Fail

    For the amount of money that it cost to build the one train station, you could probably get most of an airport constructed. And then you could fly wherever you wished. As it stands, for $17 Billion you only get to go to two places.

    Like most public transportation, only if you are going where the train or metro is headed is it convenient. Anywhere else and you are very poorly served.

    1. AndrewV

      Can't post without a title.

      Actually there's 14 stations already open, with 3 more under construction.

      Plus it'll eventually (2012) form part of the Beijing-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      dont agree

      The last thing we want is china building more and more airports and introducing the corresponding aviation pollution aswell

    3. Shannon Jacobs
      Thumb Down

      Virturs of trains unappreciated, eh?

      Posted like a true American idiot who has probably can't remember when he last rode a train. Actually, it is airplanes that have vastly higher operating costs and most more difficulty serving intermediate points--unless they blow up in the sky and get scattered all over the intermediate points.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        At this speed...

        ...it won't matter much whether it's airborne or groundbased - any kind of serious mishap, explosive or not, is going to make it geography.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eschede_train_disaster

    4. steogede

      @Time

      >> For the amount of money that it cost to build the one train station, you could probably get most of an airport constructed. And then you could fly wherever you wished.

      You might be able to fly wherever you want, but you can only land where there is a suitable runway - which isn't that many places for the new super jumbos.

    5. The BigYin
      FAIL

      ", only if you are going where the train or metro is headed is it convenient"

      I see. So you just ask the captain to divert the plane to where you want to go? Most people call that "hijacking"!

      Trains, where properly funded and run (i.e. not the UK or USA) are much better for inter-city travel than aircraft. They are also better for freight, but again this relies on proper management and funding.

      Meanwhile the UK throws millions in subsidy and our piss-poor rail companies and still pisses money away on a runway at Heathrow that we wouldn't need IF said (heavily subsidised) rail companies actually pulled their finger out and did their jobs properly.

    6. Stratman
      FAIL

      Reply to post: FAIL

      " And then you could fly wherever you wished."

      Really? You mean the airport is your ultimate destination? Or that I can fly directly to my place of work?

      "Like most public transportation, only if you are going where the train or metro is headed is it convenient"

      And the plane goes where, exactly?

    7. Bob 18
      WTF?

      Public Transportation?

      "Like most public transportation, only if you are going where the train or metro is headed is it convenient. Anywhere else and you are very poorly served."

      Yes, that is true for air travel as well --- which is, in fact, another form of public transportation. Unless you're flying your own personal LearJet.

      Look... if I can go 1000km in 3 hours, I'll have no problem with renting a car at the other end to get where I'm going. It will take you another 7 hours of driving to catch up to me (assuming you don't stop for dinner).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <o>""<o>

    "which, like the new station in Guangzhou, is an inconvenient hour-long drive from the city center."

    It's got to be called EasyTrain then.

  3. Big Bear
    Boffin

    Wowser

    £71 first or £45 coach... for 684 miles?

    London to Edinburgh is half the distance for a 50% longer time (assuming no strikes/leaves/rain/snow/sunshine/overcast/wind/cows/sheep/piss/poo delays the train), and runs to far more than those prices! I'd do a comparison but the pricing structure of the UK railways is beyond anyone without a few PhDs in theoretical maths...

    1. G Fan

      Compared with income though

      ... it's a bloomin' fortune.

      My father-in-law earns around 2500RMB/month.

    2. Pete 2 Silver badge

      the fare isn't for the journey

      Actually the pricing structure is quite simple. Think of it as renting a place on the train. The longer the journey takes, the more the rent should be. Therefore when the train companies increase their fares they make the journeys take longer so you get the same number of hours for your money.

      It's not about getting there any more.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But

    Would YOU travel on it?

    You just know that somewhere on the train or on it's track there's a small critical part welded together by some underpaid, poorly-trained (no pun) minion in a small tin shack .

    Made in China

    LOL

    1. Tim Bates

      Nope.

      I say this with in intended racism or disrespect... No. I would not want to get into a Chinese made vehicle. Especially one that will be travelling at over 50km/h (and over 200km/h is way out).

      That said, remember what "Made in Japan" meant before the 60's/70's...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Boffin

        Yes but

        Yes the Japanese were terrible manufacturers way back when I were a lad.

        Look at them now...

        Difference is, China believes in lowest cost, lowest quality, lowest wage....

        I just can't Johnny Chinaman getting to Nippons lofty heights, but then again.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Terminator

        I for one

        would (sadly) get on the Chinese train over one made in the UK any day...

        The quality of their engineering seems to be increasing by the minute.

        Not many people complain about the build quality of their IPhones or their Dyson.......

        Their cars are starting to be built to meet NCAP 5 star ratings etc..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      so?

      > a small critical part welded together by some underpaid, poorly-trained (no pun) minion in a small tin shack

      I daresay the average Boeing or Airbus has its fair share of those, quite possibly from the same tin shack...

    3. Geogeorge
      Alert

      quite right

      LAst years, i bought a chinese made telescope (CELESTRON ASTOMASTER newtonian 130mm). at first sight, the thing looked right. after some time, collimated mirroir, the picture i got was awefull.

      after many hours of thinking , i manage to understand that the primary mirroir , manufactured in china , was UGLY . yes ,it 's cheap , yes it look like a real telescope , but NO . this fucking mirroir isn't parabolised.

      the primary piece is so crappy , you should better bought a good binocular .

      morality ?

      wait 20° years before buy some tech piece, coming from china. i wouldn't trust any critical piece coming from them.

      few month ago, french evelator manufacturer, declared that , small piece used for interface was contaminated with urianium. LAWL . people put their finger on it etc ...

      Lawl at china .

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hour long drive

    Hour long taxi ride more like. Or one or more hours in the subway. And about the price, I reckon it competes rather well with any other mode. The new Chinese trains are the nicest I have been on. You got one thing right though; the US doesn't bear mentioning.

  6. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Cars will compete with trains when I can read a book while driving

    London to Endinburgh off peak return is about £186 first class and £107 standard. The journey time is a little under 5 hours. It might be possible to extract this information from the national rail enquiries web site. A very kind person has created a web site that works without hassle: http://traintimes.org.uk/

    1. The BigYin
      FAIL

      I see...

      ...and a return on a budget airline is about on third the price and takes half as long.

      Way to go British railways! Woo! Remind me, how much subsidy does a budget airline gets from my pocket and how much do those incompetent morons who run our railways get?

      When I get get on a train in (say) Newcastle and be in (say) London in around two hours, with a seat, not pay any more than a budget air-ticket and not pay any subsidy to the rail operator; then we can begin to think about considering them "acceptable". Not "good", not "excellent"; just "acceptable".

      Thinking about - just fire the lot of them and hire the Swiss. Oh wait, didn't the Swiss said they wouldn't touch our rail system with a barge-pole due to massive under funding, ineptitude and corruption?

      1. Stratman

        I see...

        " Remind me, how much subsidy does a budget airline gets from my pocket "

        Quite a lot. The fuel is duty and VAT free. They aren't paying their way, so the tax they're not paying comes from your pocket and mine.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Why does this thing look Japanese/German?

    Excuse me, but this train looks pretty much like one of the latest Japanese N series Shinkhansen.

    In the video you could also see a train which looks like a third generation german ICE train.

    So: Who built which train?

    1. Tim Bates

      Pirated design?

      You can almost be assured the reason they look like Japanese and/or German trains is that Chinese engineers went and looked at the Japanese and German trains... Then simply copied the design.

      And like all Chinese knockoffs, it works fine when you try it out the first 2 or 3 times... But then suddenly fails spectacularly when it comes down to using it for something serious.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Germans build that new high speed train

      in China because there is not enough space anymore in their own country

    3. Faster Better Greener

      Chinese tech transfer re trains

      The Chinese high speed rail programme is doing JVs with all the major European train manufacturers to 'localise' the technology. The Japanese are also in there too. So no surprise if you get to see something that looks like a Shinkansen N700 or a Siemens Velaro. Because that's what they are.

      Until next year, when they'll be rebadged and sold back to us for half the price. Ho-hum.

      PS China already has the world's fastest train in regular public service - 431 km/h (267mph) maglev in Shanghai. This too used German technology (Transrapid - Siemens & ThyssenKrupp).

    4. uncle sjohie
      Thumb Up

      What about physics?

      Aerodynamics and physics dictate the more or less same high-speed train designs used all over the world...

    5. Dapprman

      Good reason it looks like a Shinkasen N

      The trains are N-Series Shinkansen. The Japanese won a bidding war with the French to supply the rolling stock.

    6. Daniel B.
      Boffin

      That would be...

      ... because the "CRH2" is really a rebadged Shinkansen, and the "CRH3" is really a Siemens Velaro train. Hey, at least they actually bought them, unlike that blatant Transrapid-ripoff they tried to pull off years ago with stolen German tech. It looks like the Chinese gov't is playing nice now :)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Railways_CRH2

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Railways_CRH3

  8. Martin Nicholls
    Coat

    Blergh

    East Coast mainline does 135-ish normally, and it'll do up to 160+ iif it had in cab signalling (which wouldn't cost much fail), which is why we hold the world record for the fastest diesel train in the world (it's been ran at that with a closed line), beat that China.

    But no seriously, have you looked at the size of China lately? Of course they need fast trains. I can get from NNG to KC in 1:26 and it's good enough for me, and not hugely far off TGV times.

    That all being said it's easy to build something like that with slave labour, wonder how many people would complain if /we/ went to africa, scooped up a few thousand people and made them work for essentially nothing.

    1. this

      We already did

      only we had a more convenient source of labour in Ireland.

    2. GrahamT
      Happy

      Mmmmm

      "wonder how many people would complain if /we/ went to africa, scooped up a few thousand people and made them work for essentially nothing."

      Isn't that how the US cotton industry started? Of course the US railways were built with Chinese "slave" labour.

      Whatever China's problems, the population get paid for working. Salaries may be low by western standards, but so are living costs.

      By the way, Britain holds the world record for fastest steam train. That is about as relevant as fastest diesel in the modern world.

      We also have been running 125-150 mph diesels on the main lines since the 80's but now the faster trains are electric. e.g. 140mph commuter trains and 186mph (300kph) Eurostar.

      Like China, and unlike the US, we are a crowded land, but with short distances between cities so trains make far more sense than planes - shame we don't get the same level of investment.

    3. James Dennis
      FAIL

      however from TFA

      "By contrast, the FT points out that it takes the US's Amtrak Acela Express three and a half hours to traverse the 300km from Boston to New York City - although that train has hit 217kph (135mph) in time trials."

      So thats an average of 186 / 3.5 = 53 mph!

      Wikipedia says:

      70 mph (110 km/h) average

      and also says:

      Distance travelled: 456 mi (734 km)

      Average journey time 7 hours

      Which works out at 65mph!

      Another source:

      http://www.trainweb.org/tgvpages/acela.html

      The Acela Express cuts the Boston - New York run to 3:23 (from 4 to 5 hours), and the New York to Washington run (the territory of Amtrak's 125 mph Metroliners until the introduction of Acela) to 2:45 from three hours.

      Please reset your normality signal. Over.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC Looks...

    Apparently the (4 different) designs are based on trains by

    Bombardier

    Kawasaki Heavy Industries

    Siemens

    Alstrom (TGV, New Pendolino etc - ie most of Europes high speed designs )

    which explains the looks

  10. Julian Bond
    Thumb Up

    I for one

    look forward to China extending this all the way to Vienna. It must make more sense to move all those container loads of electric bicycles to Europe via train rather than ocean going ship.

    Shortly afterwards I expect somebody to commission a new TV Play. "Murder on the Guangzhou Express"

    1. GrahamT
      Boffin

      Not really

      Actually container ships are very fuel efficient - the problem is they are forced to burn the crap high sulphur fuel that no one else wants, because the oil companies can get higher prices for the good stuff by selling it for trucks and trains.

      Imagine several trains per day with 10,000 containers each crossing, say, Khazakstan, to Vienna (why Vienna, it's hardly the centre of European trade?) That would put Somali pirates into perspective.

      Horses for courses: Ships for large quantities long distances, Trains for medium quantities medium distances, and trucks for local distribution.

    2. Linbox

      Actually ... Hamburg

      http://www.neurope.eu/articles/82168.php

      1. GrahamT
        Boffin

        Rotterdam might be better

        It is Europe's largest container port, has road, rail and sea links all over Europe, and doesn't ice up in winter.

        Actually our service from Shanghai (Beijing is inland) to Hamburg takes 23 days, so 15 days for the train isn't that impressive, especially in competition with airfreight at 1 day.

        Unfortunately the article doesn't say how many containers the trains carry. 10,000 x 20 foot container capacity is common now for container ships, and getting bigger. A train carrying that would be nearly 40 miles long.

    3. Ru
      Boffin

      Re: I for one

      "It must make more sense to move all those container loads of electric bicycles to Europe via train rather than ocean going ship"

      I'm reasonably certain that sea freight is a pretty cheap and efficient way of transporting goods... its the long lead times that make it unpopular. These sorts of high-speed trains are more in competition with aircraft than with boats, and are a much nicer way to travel.

      Unless of course you arrive waaaay out from the city you really want to be in... for example, Taiwan's high speed rail service is great for getting from north to south but the added transit times from the intermediate stations to the towns they serve make it far more practical just to take the normal rail service instead and get out in the city centres.

  11. NogginTheNog

    Responses

    "airplanes that have vastly higher operating costs and most more difficulty serving intermediate points--unless they blow up in the sky and get scattered all over the intermediate points."

    Rather poor taste there Ms. Jacobs! :-O

    "it's easy to build something like that with slave labour, wonder how many people would complain if /we/ went to africa, scooped up a few thousand people and made them work for essentially nothing."

    Isn't that how the US built their original railways..? :-D

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      actually...

      I think the Chinese built them...

    2. Phil 54

      also with cheap chinese labour

      We did the same thing in Canada

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Isn't that how the US built their original railways..?"

      Actually, No. The irony is that the Chinese immigrants to the US built half the railway (western part) and were treated as essentially slave labour. It's the American way...

    4. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Ah, that *finally* explains..

      Guantanamo Bay..

    5. Eddy Ito
      Headmaster

      Actually, no.

      Labor for the U.S. rail system came largely from two groups, Irish vets from the Am. Civil War and Chinese immigrants. Remember the timing, late 1800's designed to move soldiers and gold. The main improvement since then has been from coal fired steam engines to diesel-electric... track maintenance? We've heard of it.

    6. Dazed and Confused

      re: NogginTheNog

      I thought that most of the Western Half of the US railway network was actually built by the Chinese originally. The Chinese emigrant work force had the advantage of being cheap and also drinking tea. Other sources of cheap labour drank beer and were therefore pissed the whole time or water and therefore tended to die of all sorts of horrible diseases. Boiling the water to make tea kept them alive long enough to lay the tracks.

  12. Jeroen Braamhaar
    Coat

    A few points ...

    At 350km/h this train isn't THAT much faster than the current generation shinkansen - and certainly won't be when the next generation arrives in a few years - JR East especially has a project running that will increase speeds from 275 to 350 in the next 3-4 years (Actually the target speed was 360-400 but that's still some time off; but they already ran a test train at over 400 on their lines, so 350 gets kinda wimpy - look up the "Fastech360" or E954/E955 for a laugh). JR Central/JR West run a similar program, although their speed aims are more modest - this might have something to do with their infrastructure having been originally built back in 1964 rather than new.

    Additionally, the Chinese buy their high-speed trains from the Japanese (the model on show is the Chinese version of the Japanese E2 shinkansen), and as the French showed us, if you take a short enough train, with big enough engines on a souped up piece of straight track, no record is out of reach.

    Mind you, it's about bloody time they got their rail infrastructure fixed; steam trains (even for passengers) are not an uncommon sight there ...

    So before you go claim that the Chinese trains "kick butt", please do some investigation as to why that is - in this case, by purchasing technology from abroad and throwing huge amounts of money at it.

    Mine's the one with the rail company logo on it :)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Chinese tech transfer re trains

    Oh yes, the Shanghai airport mag-lev... another train designed by Germans, built in China ... and terminating half an hour's taxi drive from anywhere that you'd want to go to in Shanghai. At least trains in Europe tend to arrive in the middle of the city you're heading for.

    Except the Eurostar when it's snowing, of course.

  14. Moonfern

    The fastest thing on rails was a rocket sled from the usaf reaching 10,325 km/h

    But still the US defines a "high speed rail" as something faster than 145 km/h.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Moral hazard!

    Why wouldn't you travel on it?.

    Its a flag ship project and thus corner cutting would be unthinkable.

    And remember this is China, you fail you embezzle money used to build it you enage in corruption in building it, you get executed.

    In China 2008 the tainted milk scare the board of directors were all executed, something like that happens in the UK or USA, they get a pilthy fine.

    You do a Lehmans you get executed not bailed out shot in the back of the head and get your organs harvested, I'd like to think thats rather a big incentive to do your job properly don't you say?

  16. John Angelico
    Boffin

    56 departures per day?

    Egad - that's one every 25.71 minutes, around the clock.

    For a 3 hour run time that means they need 7 sets plus maintenance sets...

  17. Dave Bell

    Railways and aviation...

    ,,,are both industries which depend on an ethos of safety, and without the experience of the railways, we'd not have airlines.

    I don't think the Chinese people involved in this will be cutting corners on safety. And if the Channel Tunnel were a Chinese operation I don't think the company directors would have been quite so complacent.

    I'd ride these rails. And wonder what went wrong with the UK, when a 60-year-old design is the one which can keep going in Kent.

  18. MacroRodent Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Train speeds

    "By contrast, the FT points out that it takes the US's Amtrak Acela Express three and a half hours to traverse the 300km from Boston to New York City"

    Pretty lame. The fastest connection over a similar distance in Finland that I have used (Helsinki-Jyväskylä) takes just under 3 hours, even though the track is not optimized for high-speed train (the Pendolino can reach 200km/h only intermittedly during that trip). And the train station is smack in the middle of the city at both ends. It really takes a lot more time to make the trip by plane, if you time it from city center to city center (I have done it by both methods).

  19. Swarthy
    WTF?

    Why, oh why

    Can't the US get this? That's what a stimulus package should be: Drop the cash on a major infrastructure improvement. Jobs are created, revenue is generated, and we stop being a laughingstock. Oh, and it's "green" for those who care about such things.

    There's a reason USAliens either drive or fly. A train here is about the same speed as driving (with all the stops, maybe a little slower) and as expensive as flying. The worst of both worlds. Something like this with a National Network, and I am positive people will pay for a train ticket/stop driving.

    1. peyton?

      Under investigation

      The current administration is actually looking into creating some high speed links between some of the major cities. Japan Rail recently demo'd their bullet train going top speed for some Americans, to show off what they can do. One thing that I didn't see mentioned (just skimming the article and comments), that sort-of trumps the top-speed question, is how often the system actually runs on time. JR claims the total delay for their services, per year, is rarely more than a minute. However, I think JR wants to build a system from the ground up, whereas potential European competitors have experience using existing (and often differing) infrastructure.

  20. Michael Habel Silver badge
    Boffin

    Re: Why does this thing look Japanese/German?

    probably because the ~Train~ first seen in the Vid is in fact a modified (whatever that means?) "E2 1000. " Shinkansen. Which IIRC was made by the Hitachi Ltd. and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

    Which as I seem to recall is Japanese!

    The other Tran is also in fact a German ICE-3 Train (Having seen more then my share, living here in Frankurt!), which as I seem to recall was constructed by some little known outfit from Canada called Bombardier, with the Motors being made by Siemens.

    I'm guessing that Trainspotting is not considered an essential skill over @ Vulture Central.

    I choose the blue guy w/glasses at least he would have noticed all that...

    P.s. I'm kinda disappointed by the lack of Transrapid (German Maglev Train), in this "Report" :-(

  21. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Erm...

    Isn't it a German train that just happens to be running in China?

  22. Gary F
    Unhappy

    Well done China. Even though WE should have the best trains

    For as long as a lot of the world's technology is "made in china" the Chinese will be able to use all this technology for themselves. They are masters of duplication. Low labour costs and probably low levels of health and safety and other red tape help them to accomplish big projects quicker and cheaper than what we can do in the UK.

    But I think George Stephenson has turned in his grave again. Must be hard to have created the world's first public railway only to see it turn into a national joke while other countries have overtaken Britain with superior services in every respect.

  23. Pete 2 Silver badge

    All very well

    ... but how good is this train at breaking down in tunnels?

    Without something to criticise, it'll never be successful in Britain.

  24. ðøþ“ßj}²\ßð¹|²

    Train vs. Air

    First comment on this article (Timo) is actually a very good one as it turns out. Research carried out by A. Horvath (UC Berkeley) et al. over the last few years using a cradle to grave approach has shown the environmental impact of high speed train to be much higher than commonly considered.

    Further research in Europe (sorry, forgot by whom right now) would appear to favour a relatively dense network of point-to-point air links (i.e., moving away from the hub model) as possibly the most beneficial form of medium-range transportation in economico-environmental terms.

    N.B.: Yes, as can be deduced from the above Ryanair *is* actually a pretty green company. Just mentioning it to save people from posting embarrassing pseudo-witty comments.

  25. David Austin

    title

    Seems a pretty reasonable price to me - a peak time ticket from Chelmsford to Central London costs £28 to travel around 60 miles for a return journey.

  26. Tom_

    US Railways

    The US Central Pacific railroad was built at great cost of life of Chinese immigrant labourers.

  27. Chris Miller
    Thumb Down

    $17bn

    Almost exactly the price of Crossrail (bound to increase if it ever gets built), which is one tenth the length (and most of that is existing route). I know labour's cheap in China, but I can't account for a difference in costs per mile of roughly 30x. Perhaps we should ask China to build it?

    1. Moogal
      Stop

      Um...

      Crossrail may be 1/10th the length, but a large proportion of it is underground, and involves work on upgrading existing stations and the like with all the associated difficulties, so the two aren't exactly comparable.

  28. mhenriday

    As a matter of fact,

    Chinese labour - which was later banned from the US under the infamous Chinese Exclusion Acts - built much of the transcontinental railway system in the US. Those who wouldn't dare ride on a Chinese-made vehicle going more than 50 km/h can always abstain - perhaps after investigating rail accident records in their own countries (no racism or disrespect intended)....

    Henri

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    TGV

    According to wikipedia "A TGV test train piloted by Eric Pieczak set the record for the fastest wheeled train, reaching 574.8 km/h (357 mph) on 3 April 2007,"

    It appears the Chinese copied European/Japanese technology and run it in a risky way. That only proves the Chinese have balls. Until we see the first disaster.

    The only remarkable fact is that Chinese finance made 17 billion $ available for this project. Apparently their bankers do something useful, which can't be said about their London colleagues.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not in my back yard

    There is a good reason we don't and can't have super high speed trains in the UK - we're a very small and densly populated country.

    All these high speed links have one thing in common, straight tracks. It's very easy to make a train go fast in a straight line but going around corners is tricky, remember the tilting APT??

    The routes for UK train lines were planned in the 19th century, when train speeds and limitations in engineering techniques meant it was usually easier to go around things. As communities have now been built up arounds these railways it's now impossible to redesign them.

    1. Gary F

      Extreamily good points (no pun intended)

      Thank you for this new perspective that most of us overlooked.

      Hands up who wouldn't object to a new high speed track being built within a stone's throw from your house? And would you refuse to relocate your business if the Government asked to buy your farm, warehouse or factory to make way for a new railyway line? 9/10 people would probably kick up a huge fuss so there'd be no chance of laying new, STRAIGHT track for at least a decade after court battles, etc, and a big kick in the face to the Government's popularity.

      Sadly I can see why it's not so easy to do in Britain but there must be another way of trippling the average speed of our trains? If more train journeys were faster than it takes to go by car and it cost no more than what you'd pay in petrol then many more people would let the train take the strain rather than their car. Currently it's both quicker and often cheaper to drive.

    2. Jim Morrow
      FAIL

      hi speed trains in the uk

      >>> There is a good reason we don't and can't have super high speed trains in the UK - we're a very small and densly populated country.

      bollocks! are you a mouthpiece for the incompetent fuckers responsible for the country's trains?

      the main reason there are no decent trains in the uk (high-speed or otherwise) is because there's no political will for that. the utter spinelessness of transport policy for the last 50 years is another. instead of investing in rail, like france, germany, japan, korea, spain, italy, holland, etc this country spends its transport budget on lawyers dreaming up bureacracy and disasters such as privatisation. oh and the subsidies to beardie and the like are far more than was needed for the old british rail. even though br was a mess, they at least knew how to run choo-choos.

      btw, japan is another "very small and densely populated country". it has an extensive national network of high-speed trains. they're not just fast. they're clean. they *always* run on time. the tickets are cheap and the staff that work on them are polite to passengers. it can be done.

      1. Glen 1 Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        @jim

        in many countries, the reason for the better infrastructure is that WW2 ensured that the Victorian era stuff was destroyed.

        Many countries rail networks were either carpet bombed, or systematically destroyed to prevent enemy movement. (or both, at different stages, by different sides)

        Starting from scratch in the 50s makes it a lot easier to make more modern design decisions, even if it was more expensive (costs more to build stuff twice). Especially with recovering-from-war levels of infrastructure investment.

        Admittedly, this doesn't excuse the incompetence of various UK governments, but with the NIMBYs and the huge amount of money required, its little wonder most of the planned upgrades attempted have been incremental.

        (i believe the st pancreas (lol) section was the first new track laid down in years... with planned links to Birmingham and Manchester, we may at some point at least be comparable to the TGV, which will by then be out of date... oh well...)

  31. batfastad
    Go

    Great stuff!!

    This is excellent news and puts us to shame.

    Wish we could buy something like this rather than the lympics.

    Travelling on trains over here is already more expensive than driving tho so lord knows what this would cost!

  32. Bob 18

    Only $17b?

    In Boston, we just built a 7-mile (partially) underground freeway for $15b (without any idea how we would pay for it). You mean, for the same price we could have built a system that would let us travel 100km in 3 hours? Hmm...

  33. kain preacher

    @Shannon Jacobs2

    "Posted like a true American idiot who has probably can't remember when he last rode a train"

    Right and you know this cause you live in America .

  34. lasse123

    This rain was build with Japanese technology

    Kawasaki Heavy Industries gave knowledge transfer.

    http://www.japanfocus.org/-Christopher%20P.-Hood/2367

  35. Melanie Winiger
    Paris Hilton

    An added benefit of a good Transport Infrastructure

    Good Transport Infrastructure means increased productivity and less stress.

    I live in Switzerland and I have no excuse for being late for work.

    The double-decker trains and buses run on time (almost) always regardless of whether it is minus 15 or plus 38 degrees, regardless of the type of snow, rain or wind.

    Want the trains to run faster? The Swiss just build another tunnel e.g. there's a new 58km tunnel being built under the Alps now for Year 2018.

    Political parties of the left and right AGREE on a subsidised (because it can't make a profit) public transport system.

    Simple as that.

    Business is done, and there's less stress for everyone.

    "I'll be home at 1813hrs darling" is quite normal.

    When I worked in England I was always shocked that "the traffic was murder on the M25 boss" was an acceptable excuse for being late and holding up a meeting or delaying a system change.

    It needs a master Political plan to sort out decades of neglect in the UK.

    Not in my lifetime.

    In the meantime, I'll stick to my 0721hrs S5 train thank you...

    Paris because I'd like her to ride my train. We can do it upstairs together.

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