Feeds

High-speed Chinese train kicks French, Japanese butt

UK, US not worth mentioning

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.