China is in the middle of the largest railway expansion in history, an exercise in opening up the country. Note that logistically China has never been well connected by a good road network and railways are desperately important.
In the next three years it will add to an already burgeoning network: 42 high-speed passenger rail lines with a length of 13,000km, with a further 7,000km of track for local services.
The total length of China’s operational railways will increase from 80,000km to 110,000km or more, and its main railways will achieve the sought-after goal of transporting freight and passengers separately.
Just before the 2008 Olympics, the 120km trip from Beijing to the port city of Tianjin – home to 11 million people – was cut from almost an hour to just 27 minutes, a short commute.
Taiyuan, the capital of central Shanxi province, can be reached in three hours.
The seaside city of Qingdao in five hours.
In early December a railway linking Wuhan, a Yangtze River port city, with Guangzhou had its trial run.
By the end of this year, the government plans to have a 1,318km high-speed link from Beijing to Shanghai up and running.
The Australian adds that this explosion of infrastructure improvement is an example that could well be followed by Australia.