Feeds

High-speed Chinese train kicks French, Japanese butt

UK, US not worth mentioning

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.