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World Speed Survey 2013: China sprints out in front - Railway Gazette

NTERNATIONAL: China continues to set the pace in the global rail speed stakes, with its fastest trains achieving average point-to-point speeds more than 40 km/h faster than any other country, according to Railway Gazette's latest World Speed Survey.

...First place goes to Chinese Railways, which operates 22 trains daily over the 248 km between Shaoguan and Leiyang Xi in 47 min at an average of 316 km/h. Europe's fastest trains remain SNCF's TGV services on LGV Est linking Paris with Strasbourg and other towns in eastern France; TGV 5425 sprints the 167·6 km between Lorraine TGV and Champagne Ardenne TGV in 37 min at 271·8 km/h. Meanwhile, Spain overtakes Japan to take third place.

Well that's not quite correct. Average speed must obviously be below the top speed of 300 km/h. The mistake here must be the distances. The kilometerage of new lines is adjusted to that of parallel old lines at connecting points (meaning there are jumps in the numbering), and even fares are set according to these virtual 'old' distances. Still, having looked at timings and distances myself, I found several non-stop runs which are faster than the fastest TGV link, even if barely (by virtue of being longer runs). The three fastest:

  • Beijing South–Nanjing South: 280.3 km/h (1,023 km in 3 h 39 min)
  • Jinan West–Nanjing South: 280.5 km/h (617 km in 2 h 12 min)
  • Shijiazhuang–Zhengzhou East: 283.7 km/h (383 km in 1 h 21 min)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jul 7th, 2013 at 06:08:19 PM EST
Here are two interesting titbits from the CNN article also linked in the diary. First, in China, the rule-of-the-thumb three-hour travel time to beat planes doesn't apply. But what's the limit then?

Although Chen still prefers to fly on longer routes, she says on business trips shorter than six hours, the choice of train over plane is now a no-brainer.

Second, a point made by that toned-down critic:

"In less than a decade, we constructed more high-speed rail lines than what it took Japan and Europe 40 years to build," said Zhao Jian, an economics professor at Beijing Jiaotong University and one of the country's leading experts on rail transportation.

"We've had such amazing growth because land expropriation is cheap and so is labor," he explained. "You also have the economy of scale -- other countries usually build a few hundred kilometers of tracks, but in China we're talking about thousands of kilometers."

In Europe, economy of scale in rail construction is something that has been realised in Spain only, but austerity is set to eliminate that.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jul 8th, 2013 at 04:03:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note that this is in the context of flights being regularly delayed. Presumably the 3 hour figure applies to real, not scheduled, travel time, so would not apply if flights are usually on time (or if trains are regularly 2 hours late, as has been my experience 3 out of 4 times last month in Germany).
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jul 8th, 2013 at 04:31:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Was that possibly due to work being done on the tracks after all the flooding?

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sat Jul 20th, 2013 at 01:09:14 AM EST
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On the Munich-Saarbrücken line? Ironically the only one that was on time (more or less) was Dessau-Dresden, the closest I got to the flooding.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jul 20th, 2013 at 02:25:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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