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China has the longest high-speed rail route in the world: this is how it has been hyperconnected in less than 15 years

China has gone from not having an inch of high-speed train tracks to having the longest high-speed rail network in the world: 38,000km in 15 years.

China has the longest high-speed rail route in the world: this is how it has been hyperconnected in less than 15 years
Longest high-speed rail network in the world

China has gone from not having an inch of high-speed rail to having the longest high-speed rail network in the world. Over the last 15 years, the Asian country has added more than 38,000 km to its network of high-speed trains (HSR), with a total length that far exceeds the rest of the united world. The speed of its trains has increased from a maximum of 200 km / h to almost 400 km / h, the fastest in the world. And it plans to grow more in the future.

The most extensive network. China's high-speed train has become a miraculous feat, increasing in length from 800 km in 2007 to more than 38,000 km in 2020. Chinese high-speed has reached all but the Chinese administrative divisions. Tibet, due to orographic and climatic difficulties, and Inner Mongolia, although it will soon arrive in the latter region with the extension of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou line, built for the 2022 Winter Olympics. According to the report China High-Speed ​​Rail Development, published by the World Bank in 2019, the mileage of China's high-speed rail network exceeds the total mileage of the rest of the world's countries combined.

The same does not happen in the regular rail system. In total, China has a total rail network of 141,000 km, including the high-speed and the regular. The entire US has a network of 202,500 km. And all of Europe has a network of around 235,000 km.

Evolution. At the end of 2018, the Chinese high-speed railway reached 29,000 km, already becoming the longest in the world. Last year, the country built more than 5,000 km of high-speed rails to connect more destinations, increasing to 35,000 km and holding the first world record: in total, it accounts for 70% of the global length of high-speed railways throughout the planet. By 2020, China has built more than 2,000 km of new high-speed lines to complete the network. Most of the big cities are already connected: Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guilin, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Kunming, Guiyang, etc.

Exceeding the objectives. The Medium and Long-Term Rail Plan (MLTRP) established by the Asian country in 2004 foresaw that, by 2020, the national railway infrastructure would increase to 100,000 km, of which 12,000 km would be high-speed and four horizontal corridors and four would be established. verticals to link the main cities. Well, the network structure has been expanded to eight vertical and eight horizontal corridors, designed to be complemented by more regional and intercity rail links and the extension reached has been tripled. Figures that far exceed what was raised that year. Now, high-speed rail reaches more than 80% of large and medium-sized cities, sometimes with travel times of between one and four hours.

Harmony. In 2017 the country launched the fastest train in the world, known as 'Fuxing' or 'Harmony', which travels at a maximum of 350 km / h, reducing the travel time between Beijing and Shanghai to less than six hours. But it is nothing compared to what they are planning for the future. The state-owned company China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), which is the world's largest supplier of rail transport equipment, presented the prototype of its next Maglev train, which will be capable of reaching a maximum speed of 600 km / h. To give an example: to do the Beijing-Shanghai route with the new Maglev it would take approximately 3.5 hours. This was unthinkable a few years ago.

It is estimated that in a decade, Chinese bullet trains have carried 7 billion passengers. To give you an idea: if all the tickets sold in a year in China were put together, they could go around the Earth seven or eight times.

Costs. Compared to countries around the world, China's high-speed rail fares are the lowest, and construction costs are roughly two-thirds of the construction costs of other countries. China's high-speed rail has so far cost between € 13 million and € 17 million per km, despite having a high proportion of more expensive viaducts and tunnels. In the countries of Europe, the cost per km is between 20 and 31 million euros while in California, the only US state currently planning a high-speed line, it is more than 45 million / km. The average in Spain is 25 million euros, not counting the cases in which tunnels must be made, where the figure can skyrocket to 40 million.

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JOHN ANDERSON
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