The Chinese bullet train, which has the world’s fastest average speed, connects Guangzhou, the southern coastal manufacturing center, to Wuhan. In a little more than three hours, it travels 664 miles. That is less time than Amtrak’s fastest train in the United States, the Acela, takes to go from Boston just to New York.
This is just one of 42 high-speed lines recently opened or set to open by 2012 in China. By comparison, the United States hopes to build its first high-speed rail line by 2014, an 84-mile route linking Tampa and Orlando, Fla.
Indeed, the web of super-fast trains promises to make China even more economically competitive as never before, much as the building of the Interstate highway system increased productivity and reduced costs in the United States a half century ago.
New York Times reports that Zhang Shuguang, the deputy chief engineer of China’s railway ministry, said in a speech last September that the government planned 42 lines by 2012. Some transportation experts predict that a few of the 42 routes may not be finished until 2013 or 2014.