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High speed rail and cost efficiency

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The world’s longest high-speed rail journey is the 2,760 kilometre Beijing – Kunming service. Only China has high speed trains which run at 350 km/h, China Daily reported.

[High-speed rail trips get easier as network expands, china.org.cn, 11 Sep 2017]

Service on several Chinese lines have reached that speed, including Beijing – Tianjin, Beijing – Shanghai and Shanghai – Ningbo.

However, journeys of 2,700 km are probably not optimal for high speed rail, in terms of competing against air travel.

In a paper published in the Journal of Transport Geography in 2014, Jianhong Wu, Chris Nash and Dong Wang questioned the ‘appropriateness’ of China’s high speed rail network. They argued that new-build conventional rail would, in general, be more suitable for China’s economy.

How 'appropriate' is China's high speed rail?

Increasing rail speed from 250 to 350 km/h in China has reportedly led to ‘a near doubling of capital costs per route-km’.

Increasing rail speed in China from 250 to 350 km/h appeared to lead to a near doubling of capital costs per route-km

‘Design operating speeds seem to be a key driver of capital costs’. In Britain, the HS2 project is being designed to allow trains to run at 400 km/h at a later date. One of the made-up claims for HS2 is that ‘building for very high speed is only ~10% more expensive than building for conventional speed’ (< 250 km/h).

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Written by beleben

September 11, 2017 at 9:55 am

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