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China and Rail

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  • Richard Risemberg
    China, a huge country with a population four times that of the US, lays to rest the myth that trains aren t suitable for our unique US geography. While
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 25, 2009
      China, a huge country with a population four times that of the US,
      lays to rest the myth that trains aren't suitable for our "unique" US
      geography. While Washington and local municipalities prepare to fight
      the last war by laying down more wasteful and inefficient lane-miles
      for cars, China's top stimulus priority is building out its rail
      system, both passenger and freight. To quote Keith Bradsher from his
      Nw York Times article:

      > China will spend $88 billion constructing intercity rail lines, the
      > highest priority in the plan. It spent $44 billion last year and
      > just $12 billion as recently as 2004, said John Scales, the
      > transport coordinator for China at the World Bank.


      > Feng Fei, the director general of industrial economics at the
      > policy research unit of China�s cabinet, the State Council, said
      > that steep increases in railroad investments would create lasting
      > benefits. The goal is to slow China�s dependence on personal cars
      > and imported oil, to reduce air pollution and to relieve the annual
      > shortage of seats on trains during Chinese New Year, when millions
      > of people visit their families, he said.
      > China has already built as many miles of high-speed passenger rail
      > lines in the last four years as Europe has in two decades. A new
      > bullet train from Beijing to Tianjin, opened last summer, travels
      > at up to 217 miles an hour; the top speed of Amtrak�s Acela Express
      > trains in the Northeastern United States is 150 m.p.h., and it is
      > only briefly attained.

      While China is allocating some of its stimulus funds towards roads
      and airports--both highly inefficient financially and
      environmentally--the bulk of spending is directed towards
      establishing or enhancing clean, efficient rail. Rail is not only
      more efficient in energy use, but far more efficient in land use than
      roads or even air. (As an illustration, the 3,500 acres of Los
      Angeles International Airport, one of the world's busiest, handle
      around 165,000 passengers per day; whereas the Shinjuku rail and
      subway station in downtown Tokyo, which occupies a couple of city
      blocks and is mostly underground, with usable building space over
      much of it, handles 4,000,000 boardings per day.)

      Read the complete article:


      Thanks to Christopher Hart of Streetsblog for bringing this to our

      Richard Risemberg

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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