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(Article) China to Build High-Speed Railway to Europe

  • 09-03-2010 11:37am
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭ Amtmann


    Railway passengers will be able to travel from King's Cross in London to Beijing in just two days on a journey that would be almost as fast as by aeroplane under ambitious new plans from the Chinese.

    China is in negotiations to build a high-speed rail network to India and Europe with trains capable of running at more than 322kmh within the next 10 years.

    By using the Channel Tunnel, the network would eventually carry passengers from London to Beijing and then to Singapore, according to Wang Mengshu, a senior consultant on China's high-speed railways.

    A second project would carry trains through Russia to Germany and into the European railway system, and a third line would connect Vietnam, Thailand, Burma and Malaysia.

    Passengers could board a train in London and step off in Beijing, 8160km away as the crow flies, in just two days. Flying time is about 10 hours. They could go on to Singapore, 10,870km away, within three days.

    "We are aiming for the trains to run almost as fast as aeroplanes," said Mr Wang. "The best-case scenario is that the three networks will be completed in a decade."

    Mr Wang said Beijing was already in negotiations with 17 countries over the rail lines, which would also allow China to transport raw materials more efficiently.

    Technology

    "It was not China that pushed the idea to start with," said Mr Wang. "The other countries came to us, especially India. These countries cannot fully implement the construction of a high-speed rail network and they hoped to draw on our experience and technology."

    China is in the middle of a €533bn domestic railway expansion project that aims to build nearly 30,600km of new railways in the next five years, connecting all its major cities with high-speed lines.

    The world's fastest train, the Harmony Express, which has a top speed of nearly 400kmh and links the cities of Wuhan and Guangzhou, was unveiled last year. Wholly Chinese-built, but using technology from Siemens and Kawasaki, it can cover 1050km in three hours.

    Mr Wang said the route of the three lines had yet to be decided, but that construction for the South-East Asia line had begun in the southern province of Yunnan and that Burma was about to begin building its link.

    "We have also already carried out the prospecting and survey work for the European network, and central and eastern European countries are keen for us to start," Mr Wang said. "The northern network will be the third one to start, although China and Russia have already agreed on a high-speed line across Siberia.
    http://www.independent.ie/world-news/china-builds-railway-to-europe-2092468.html


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 428 ✭✭ Joey Joe-Joe Jr


    on a journey that would be almost as fast as by aeroplane

    Passengers could board a train in London and step off in Beijing, 8160km away as the crow flies, in just two days. Flying time is about 10 hours.

    48 hours as opposed to 10.

    How is that almost as fast as flying?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,468 BluntGuy


    I fail to see the economic benefits that would justify such enormous expenditure. Fantastic aspirations, but what would be the benefits, who actually needs to make such journeys?


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,687 ✭✭✭✭ Zubeneschamali


    BluntGuy wrote: »
    I fail to see the economic benefits that would justify such enormous expenditure.

    90% CO2 reduction per trip could be important in 10 years when this is built?


  • Registered Users Posts: 368 ✭✭ Roryhy


    BluntGuy wrote: »
    I fail to see the economic benefits that would justify such enormous expenditure. Fantastic aspirations, but what would be the benefits, who actually needs to make such journeys?

    I would think that rapid freight is the bigger aim here though many people need to travel to china for business these days.


  • Registered Users Posts: 488 ✭✭ fresca


    Roryhy wrote: »
    ...though many people need to travel to china for business these days.

    Agreed.
    And mostly Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai ... all ex London.
    There is no way i'm going to spend 2 days on a train to get to a meeting / conference when i can fly there is 10 / 12 hours ex london.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,464 ✭✭✭ munchkin_utd


    If China can get a direct high capacity high quality transport link to middle Asia and Eastern Europe, then they can ship out in the raw materials they need for manufacturing, and relatively quickly export Chinas consumer goods.

    Currently most of the stuff Europe gets from China comes by sea taking weeks in transit.
    If you had a rail link straight across the continent, a train going at 200kmh would take 40 hours for the 8000km.
    Its not quite as quick as air freight, but much much quicker than the sea option.
    The rail line could be such a game changer that you nearly would have just in time manufacturing possible for heavy industry in Europe using parts from China. Crazy stuff.

    I think the passenger thing is a complete red herring (from a country that doesnt allow free international travel by its citizens). This has to be all about freight and China extending its economic influence.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 Judgement Day


    And what about Ireland? We should start lobbying immediately to have this fantastic project extended to link up with the WRC! :rolleyes:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,010 Tech3


    I think the passenger thing is a complete red herring (from a country that doesnt allow free international travel by its citizens). This has to be all about freight and China extending its economic influence.

    Yeah I agree it has to be about freight, but is China funding any bit of the rail outside it's own country? It passes some poor countries along the way to London. I would imagine costs passing Siberia will be very little to nothing for land. I cant imagine how much this will cost in total though


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,464 ✭✭✭ munchkin_utd


    found this when scouting about.
    Since 2 years ago theres a rail express from China to Germany, probably the forerunner of the planned super duper line.
    TRANSPORTATION | 10.01.2008
    Train Link to Speed up Cargo Transport From China to Germany

    China and five other nations are to cooperate on a train link between Asia and Europe that would speed up cargo transport and allow goods to be delivered twice as quickly as by sea.

    The new train link would transport goods from Beijing to Hamburg in 18 days
    China and five other nations are to cooperate on a train link between Asia and Europe that would speed up cargo transport and allow goods to be delivered twice as quickly as by sea.

    The train will travel through the Mongolian Republic and the Trans Siberian railway via Belarus and Poland before making its way to the port city of Hamburg.
    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,3050857,00.html?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,091 ✭✭✭ marmurr1916


    This has got to be about freight traffic rather than passenger traffic.

    If it goes ahead it'll mean that bulk materials (metal ores etc) and heavy goods can be transported overland far more quickly than is possible now.

    Presumably it'll also open up currently underdeveloped areas for development.
    China is in the middle of a €533bn domestic railway expansion project that aims to build nearly 30,600km of new railways in the next five years, connecting all its major cities with high-speed lines.

    That's only part of it:

    http://www.crccg.com/536-1712-4104.aspx

    http://www.crccg.com/p542.aspx

    Incredibly ambitious but in line with their motorway construction programme:

    http://www.minzu.gov.cn/n832c24.aspx


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭ Amtmann


    By Paul Gillespie

    WORLD VIEW: China’s transcontinental rail plan would be the biggest infrastructure project in history
    FROM BEIJING to London by high-speed train in two days – through Burma, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. From London to Singapore in three days – via Vietnam and Malaysia. And from Shanghai to Berlin in three days – through Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Siberian Russia and Ukraine.
    These romantic prospects are opened up by the news that China is planning to extend its intensive railway construction programme internationally to create a transport network linking it to southeast, south and central Asia – a new iron Silk Road.
    The network would link up with Europe’s high-speed rail (HSR) system under development in France, Germany, Spain and Italy for the past four decades, building on Japan’s pioneering Shinkansen project of the 1960s. It would also be the greatest infrastructure project in world history, and China hopes to complete it in 10 years (for map and details see www.thetransportpolitic.com/2010/03/09).
    It is an extraordinary story dramatically illustrating how states that enter the world market later than others can combine the highest levels of technology with comparatively uneven development. China is already involved in the second- largest public works programme in history, following in size only the US interstate highway system of the 1950s.
    Under the stimulus plan adopted to counter the domestic effects of global recession, China plans to spend more than $1 trillion (€753 billion) on expanding its railway network from 78,000km to 110,000km by 2012 and to 120,000km by 2020.
    The network will feature interoperable fast and high-speed tracks capable of taking freight and passenger trains.
    The first HSR Harmony Express, linking the cities of Wuhan and Guangzhou two years ago, involved building 625 bridges and 221 tunnels. It covers 1,000km in three hours. The forthcoming Beijing-Shanghai line will cost more than the Three Gorges Dam project. The system is completely Chinese built, originally using German and Japanese technology.
    China is already half way through the construction of the largest HSR network in the world with the fastest trains, capable of travelling at 320km/h. Its spending on such relatively clean technology outstrips that of the (similarly sized) US by four to one.
    It is far ahead of US president Barack Obama’s programme, announced last year, to upgrade the US rail system, which faces serious funding and political problems. Chinese companies are currently bidding to construct a high-speed track in California.
    Historical ironies abound. Chinese workers helped to construct the US rail system in the 1870s and 1880s along with Irish navvies. Will we see a new generation of Irish workers involved in these projects?
    The burst of railway building in the mid-19th century was, according to Eric Hobsbawm in The Age of Capital , “the largest body of public works and almost the most dazzling feat of engineering known to human history up to that date”.
    He describes it as an “heroic age of the engineers . . . who thought in continents and oceans. For them the world was a single unit, bound together with rails of iron and steam engines, because the horizons of business were like their dreams worldwide”.
    The Chinese, humiliated by western imperialism, are now turning the tables by exploiting the latecomer’s ability to leap over backwardness. As then, engineers are to the fore. They dominate the Chinese Communist Party leadership.
    According to Wang Mengshu, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a senior consultant on China’s domestic high-speed railways, “we are aiming for the trains to run almost as fast as airplanes” between China and Europe.
    The government is already in negotiations with 17 countries on the railway network, which would also allow China to transport raw materials more efficiently.
    “It was not China that pushed the idea to start with,” said Wang.
    “It was the other countries that came to us, especially India. These countries cannot fully implement the construction of a high-speed rail network and they hoped to draw on our experience and technology.”
    While China uses government money and bank loans arising from its huge trade surpluses, it expects other states to use public and private funding as well as Chinese capital. It would also prefer to see payment made in natural resources.
    The Burma connection is already under way, and will be paid for by supplies of lithium to make batteries. Oil is an obvious resource in Iran, and the same applies with Russia in Siberia.
    Major technical problems concerning track sizes and interoperability face China in dealing with these 17 states. But the boundless engineering confidence arising from China’s rapid development can overcome these issues.
    The transport network will consolidate economic relations with China’s Asian neighbours and help develop a more integrated regional economy in that part of the world, just as 19th-century globalisation was integrated by rail, steam and telegraph.
    The density of urban populations in China and other Asian states makes high-speed trains a sensible investment. Does the same apply in central Asia and Russia?
    China’s audacity may underestimate the potential problems, making the 10-year scenario for completing the links unrealistic. But don’t doubt that this is a long game.
    [email protected]
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0501/1224269475971.html


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,283 ✭✭✭ irishguy


    If any other country/economic block proposed this I would call it pie in the sky, but China has everything needed to do this. Money, expertise and drive, also the line has to go through a few 'non western friendly' countries so with China behind this there will be less opposition.

    The only thing that would scupper this is some sort of financial/political crisis in China, which in the next 10 years is quite possible.


  • Registered Users Posts: 96 ✭✭✭ Hoof Hearted


    Most passengers may travel parts of the line for the trips that are less than 1000km. Think also that there is a certain number that have fear of flying and also if there is a far more severe volcanic eruption like that in Iceland (like the one that happened in the 19th Century), it would be a great backup means of transport.

    So I wonder are the next plans to connect North and South America by rail and also connect Asia with North America via the Behring Strait by rail??


  • Registered Users Posts: 596 ✭✭✭ bigar


    As someone who hates flying and loves train journeys, I would definitely avail of this service. Cannot happen soon enough.:D

    Now we only need a motorway all the way there (and permission to use our driving licences in China) and I have all I desire.


  • Registered Users Posts: 279 ✭✭ coolperson05


    Surely this shows that if they can go 10,000 kms on a train across the globe, we could link ireland to britain by train?! lol


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,630 Plowman


    This post has been deleted.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,807 ✭✭✭ CerebralCortex


    Plowman wrote: »
    This post has been deleted.

    Wouldn't population density be an issue too?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,630 Plowman


    This post has been deleted.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,977 ✭✭✭ Chris_5339762


    Would you switch from Ryanair/Aer Lingus to a service operated by IE? I certainly wouldnt.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,630 Plowman


    This post has been deleted.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,044 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    Would you switch from Ryanair/Aer Lingus to a service operated by IE? I certainly wouldnt.

    Ryanair or Irish Rail. Ryanair. Irish Rail. Ryanair.... Irish Rail...

    You've just set a horrific hypothetical conundrum. I'll be in horrors all night.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,063 ✭✭✭ JohnC.


    If (a whopper of an if) such a thing were to happen, I doubt IE would be running it. It would probably be more like the Channel Tunnel with new companies created for it, possibly joint ventures which IE could be part of.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,133 Stonewolf


    The current economic conditions make it less pie in the sky assuming we knew what to spend out money on. The best way to get out of a recession is to borrow high, spend like it was going out of fashion and create as many jobs as possible in the process. Given the amount of money we've burned on ... *ahem* ... other things I don't think it's actually unreasonably expensive and would be one of the most economically significant projects in the history of the state.


  • Registered Users Posts: 636 ✭✭✭ Jayuu


    Stonewolf wrote: »
    The current economic conditions make it less pie in the sky assuming we knew what to spend out money on. The best way to get out of a recession is to borrow high, spend like it was going out of fashion and create as many jobs as possible in the process. Given the amount of money we've burned on ... *ahem* ... other things I don't think it's actually unreasonably expensive and would be one of the most economically significant projects in the history of the state.

    There are many people who would completly disagree with you that this is the best way to get out of a recession. There is no real consensus on this at all actually.

    Getting back to the main point I really don't think there is any way you could justify the ecomonics of an undersea tunnel between Ireland and Britain in the present climate. And there is also the different gauge issue and electrification issue as well.


  • Registered Users Posts: 674 ✭✭✭ etchyed


    Jayuu wrote: »
    Getting back to the main point I really don't think there is any way you could justify the ecomonics of an undersea tunnel between Ireland and Britain in the present climate. And there is also the different gauge issue and electrification issue as well.
    This is a hypothetical discussion about something that's never going to happen realistically. It's a little bit more big-picture than differences in gauge and elecrification. Obviously we would adopt standard gauge and match the electrification to the UK's high speed rail network, much like Spain.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭ Sponge Bob


    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/a9337b06-fe20-11e0-a1eb-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1c2ZcRBzT
    Spending had already been slowing after a surge from stimulus money in 2009 but the decline since the Wenzhou crash in July has been precipitous. In year-to-date terms, investment in railways and transport had been up 7 per cent in the first half of 2011. By the end of September it was down 19 per cent, according to official data.

    There is little chance of a return to the construction frenzy of the past five years but the government appears to be slowly setting the high-speed rail plans back in motion. Restarting the investment would provide an immediate boost to the weakening economy. Longer term, it is also expected to encourage a big structural shift, opening up China’s interior to make domestic growth more self-sustaining.

    and
    Wang Mengshu, deputy chief engineer at the China Railway Tunnel Group, told state media last week a shortage of funds had halted the construction of more than 10,000km of track nationwide. Without a resumption, the 6m workers employed in the rail industry would begin to suffer, Mr Wang added.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 230 ✭✭ Eleganza


    If China can get a direct high capacity high quality transport link to middle Asia and Eastern Europe, then they can ship out in the raw materials they need for manufacturing, and relatively quickly export Chinas consumer goods.

    Currently most of the stuff Europe gets from China comes by sea taking weeks in transit.
    If you had a rail link straight across the continent, a train going at 200kmh would take 40 hours for the 8000km.
    Its not quite as quick as air freight, but much much quicker than the sea option.
    The rail line could be such a game changer that you nearly would have just in time manufacturing possible for heavy industry in Europe using parts from China. Crazy stuff.

    I think the passenger thing is a complete red herring (from a country that doesnt allow free international travel by its citizens). This has to be all about freight and China extending its economic influence.
    High Value freight is already coming from Asia via Air.
    I remember being in a company where we had to switch to Air Freight because the product was depreciating through obsolescence while in transit over sea; that's how quickly the market was moving.

    They'd be better off investing in turboprop freight planes and air ships for freight than in a rail link.
    I think the time will come very soon when old passenger planes will no longer be purchased by the freight companies and they'll instead start using purpose built planes, rather than converted passenger planes.
    the co2 footprint of that rail network will be huge before the first train starts rolling and if you look at a map of Europe/Asia there are loads of countries that you'd prefer not to have to travel through if you could avoid it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 66 ✭✭✭ NITransport


    If you had a rail link straight across the continent,

    Such a rail link already exists. Freight trains travel from Berlin to the east but take a week or two to complete the journey.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,971 ✭✭✭ DaCor


    something like this would decimate the shipping freight trade going from aisa to europe and back

    Time wise, 2 days vs 10-12 hrs on a plane, depending on ticket costs, this could be a big winner for China and Asia as a whole based on the map posted by Tremelo. Not for Business customers, but for everyone else (tourism etc).

    I know given the choice, I would opt for the train


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