The construction of Chinese high-speed rail project commenced with Qinhuangdao-Shenyang Passenger Railway in 1999. After dozens of years’ construction and reconstruction, China at present is in possession of the largest high-speed rail network with the highest speed train operation. By the end of Oct. 2010, there is a running mileage as long as 7,431 kilometers in the operation. The availability of Chinese high-speed train service considerably changes the social life and the traditional value of Chinese people. In tourism, it is a calling card attracting more and more attentions and interests all around the world, thanks to the design of these high-speed railways near to the regional tourist landmarks. For many first-time travelers to China, a high-speed train experience has been a must. So it is quite useful to give a brief introduction on Chinese high-speed train or rail lines.
The History of Chinese High-Speed Railway System
China High-Speed Rail in Chinese popularly called Gao Tie(高铁) in abbreviation. Internationally, the train speed ranges from 100 kilometers/hour to 120 kilometers/hour is considered as the ordinary speed rail. The speed from 120 to 160 kilometers/hour is considered to be the intermediate speed rail or quasi high-speed rail. The speed from 160 to 200 kilometers/hour is considered as the speedy rail. The speed from 200 to 400 kilometers/hour is considered as the high-speed rail, and the speed over 400 kilometers per hour is the super high-speed rail. In fact, majority of Chinese high-speed rails belong in the super high-speed level. It as a new transportation option in modern times has been extensively accepted. The speed of China high-speed railway generally represents the speed of it in the world. China’s high-speed railway system is highlighted with the biggest development, the most comprehensive technological system, the most advanced integration technology, the longest operation mileage, the highest speed of running and the largest scale of construction.
The pre-history of China high-speed railway starts with the Guangzhou-Shenzhen electrification reconstruction for speeding up in May, 1998, and the designed speed is 200 kilometers per hour. The rented X2000 tilting high-speed multiple units from Sweden was used in this rail line for the availability study of improving the tilting train speed on the existed rail lines to the high-speed level. The whole rail line was equipped with the internationally advanced technologies and equipments in 1990s. This is the beginning of Chinese reconstruction or resurfacing of the existed railway network. In June, 1998, the test running of Shaoshan-8 electric locomotive was up to 240 kilometers per hour, which was recorded as the No.1 Speed of China Railway History, and this locomotive was also the first type of high-speed rail locomotive in China.
The first real high-speed rail is the completed Qinhuangdao-Shenyang Passenger Railway in 2002, and the designed speed is 200-250 kilometers per hour. In the same year, the electric bullet train named China Star broke the record of Chinese train speed history. It created a speed of 321.5 kilometers per hour, which was considered as the No.1 Speed of Chinese railway history. As the huge advantage of high-speed railway becomes more and more vivid, high-speed network construction turns to be a national tendency.
|China High Speed Train
In January, 2oo4, Mid-to-long Term Plan of Railway Line as the first high-speed development outline was approved by the State Council. Meanwhile, Guangzhou-Shenzhen Railway firstly operated China-made high-speed train with as a speed of 160 kilometers per hour, and this railway boasted as the test land of Chinese high-speed railway development. During the period from 2004 to 2005, many multinationals represented by Canadian Bombardier, French Alstom and German Siemens and state-owned companies research the high-speed train together. On April 18, 2007, after the sixth large speed-up operation and the new train operation map release, the speed of all the busiest rail lines is up to 200 or 250 kilometers per hour, which has been the maximum in the world. In the meantime, the famous bullet train named Hexiehao(和谐号, Harmony) goes into the daily life of people. On February 26, 2oo8, the new high-speed train with a designed speed of 380 kilometers per hour was co-researched and co-designed by China Ministry of Railway and China Ministry of Science and Technology. On August 1, 2008, Beijing-Tianjin Intercity High-Speed Railway was officially opened. This line represents the highest level of high-speed rail development in humankind history, and China has the absolute intellectual property right. On December 26, 2009, Beijing-Hong Kong High-Speed Railway as the world’s longest rail line was opened. And its speed was up to 350 kilometers per hour. On February 6, 2o1o, the world’s first high-speed railway built on the collapsible loess area was opened. It was Zhengzhou-Xian High-Speed Rail with a speed over 350 kilometers per hour.
The Outline and Schedule of China High-Speed Railway Construction
The network of mainland China’s high-speed railway at least consists of five categories: Four-Vertical &Four-Horizontal Passenger Transport Line, Intercity Passenger Transport Line, Reconstruction of the Existed Rail Line, Western New High-Speed Rail Construction and Cross-Strait High-Speed Railway System. More extensions, reconstructions and constructions will be available in a planning map as below:
From 2010 to 2040, the major destinations of China will be interlinked and finally formed a national railway network in the 30 years’ development. Considering the reality, the railway lines will be featured of the dense east and sparse west. For giving more benefits to the west, the railways stations in west will be more than they in east. All the railway lines except Beijing-Guangzhou Railway and Beijing-Shanghai Railway will be supported for Maglev trains.
Five Verticals are Harbin-Shanghai High-Speed Railway, Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway, Beijing-Hong Kong High-Speed Railway, Jining-Kunming High-Speed Railway and Xian-Zhanjiang High-Speed Railway. Six Horizontals are Shenyang-Lanzhou High-Speed Railway, Qingdao-Yinchuan High-Speed Railway, Yancheng-Xining High-Speed Railway, Shanghai-Chengdu High-Speed Railway, Shanghai-Kunming High-Speed Railway and Shanghai-Nanning High-Speed Railway.
Eight Integrated Lines are Tianjin-Tangshan High-Speed Railway, Kaifen-Hekou High-Speed Railway, Nanjing-Nantong High-Speed Railway, Nanjing-Ningbo High-Speed Railway, Jinhua-Wenzhou High-Speed Railway, Wuhan-Fuzhou High-Speed Railway, Nanping-Xiamen High-Speed Railway and Hengyang-Nanning High-Speed Railway.
From 2040 to 2070, eight horizontal high-speed railways will be constructed, and by the end of 2100, all will be absolutely completed. All major cities and travel destinations will be linked together. The lines include: New Harbin—Shanghai High-Speed Railway, Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway, Beijing-Heihe High-Speed Railway, Jinan-Maoming High-Speed Railway, New Jining-Kunming High-Speed Railway, Xuzhou-Sanya High-Speed Railway, Taiyuan-Wenzhou High-Speed Railway and Baotou-Zhanjing High-Speed Railway.
The Representatives of China High-Speed Rail Lines
Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway, the most famous high-speed rail line of China
Shanghai-Hangzhou Intercity High-Speed Railway, a shuttle vehicle between two mega-cities
Beijing-Tianjin Intercity High-Speed Railway, makes the intercity life available and acceptable
Zhengzhou-Xian High-Speed Railway, connecting the middle of China and the western China
Shanghai-Nanjing High-Speed Railway, actually an intercity connection
Nanjing-Hangzhou High-Speed Railway, let two traditional cities meet every day
Wuhan-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway, connecting the south and middle of China
Fuzhou-Xiamen High-Speed Railway, a provincial high-speed life
Beijing-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway, link capital of China to the south center of China
Chengdu-Chongqing High-Speed Railway, twins of southwest China get closer
Shanghai-Kunming High-Speed Railway, putting the modernity of China into the reclusive world
Beijing-Shijiazhuang High-Speed Railway, let main cities of circum bohai economic area be oneness
Guangzhou-Shenzhen High-Speed Railway, an intercity passenger transport line of south China
Hangzhou-Ningbo High-Speed Railway, connecting for a more powerful and prosperous cooperation
Guiyang-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway, for economic development brings more people more benefit
Beijing-Harbin High-Speed Railway, let more people of power to enjoy the humorous Errenzhuan
The Influence of China High-Speed Train on Tourism and Life
Though the Wenzhou July-23 bullet train crash accident happened in 2011 brought Chinese high-speed railway development a huge strike or frustration, the trend of the future of railway development still is high-speed railway. The advantages of high-speed train have deeply and widely influenced the daily life of Chinese people; even the traditional value also has been silently changed. Travel by high-speed train enriches and colorizes the tour. It makes a fixed-time tour with more tourist destinations possible. Today, thanks to the high-speed train service, the space distance is largely shortened, and more connections promote the balance of development in different regions. It absolutely changes the traditional model of tourism, and largely gives the traditional tourism more. Over the past, having a Beijing tour or Shanghai tour is a life-long dream, and people, especially the residents living in the remote or underdeveloped areas, have to pay a lot to make their dream come true. Today, this is a piece of cake. Taking the high-speed train could make their dream perfectly realized or improved, and they just need pay less than before.
Writer: David from Seeraa International
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