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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
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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
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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
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