Feeds

High-speed Chinese train kicks French, Japanese butt

UK, US not worth mentioning

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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 previous rail service between the two cities took about 11 hours.

The Harmony has a top speed of 394kph (245mph), and during its inaugural run it averaged 350kph (217mph), well faster than the 300kph (186mph) "maximum service speed" of France's TGV and Japan's Shinkansen, aka Bullet Train.

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.

China's Harmony express train isn't a mere demonstration project - it's scheduled to make the cross-country trip 56 times per day.

"Expressways are not suited for China, which has large numbers of people but little space to spare," government adviser Zheng Tianxiang told the FT. "China should learn from Japan and Europe." By which he meant more rail, and fewer expressways and freeways as exist in the US.

The Harmony system wasn't cheap. State reports have put costs at $17bn over the system's four-and-a-half year construction period, but government officials declined to confirm those numbers to the FT.

There are certainly unaccounted ancillary costs, such as the $2.4bn that the city of Wuhan sunk into its new train station - which, like the new station in Guangzhou, is an inconvenient hour-long drive from the city center.

Tickets aren't cheap, either. First class runs 780 Yuan Renminbi (£71, $114) and second class 490 (£45, $72). Also, the FT points out, the state-run China Southern Airlines has responded to the competition by dropping ticket prices to as low as 250 Yuan Renminbi (£23, $37) for advance reservations.

But despite stiff price competition and inconvenient stations, Harmony is a good bet. As Zheng implied, the inevitability of future fuel-cost inflation and increased congestion make China's new high-speed rail system a smart investment. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.