Rail sector continues successful journey

By Wang Keju | China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-18 08:59
Visitors take photos alongside a model of a bullet train during a ceremony for the Sino-Thai Railway project in northeastern Thailand. LI MANGMANG/XINHUA

Overtaking Japan

After deciding to construct a high-speed rail industry from scratch in 2004, China has overtaken Japan, the first country to build bullet trains, in terms of both operating speeds and total track length.

The country has also stepped up efforts to take the game to the next level by upgrading conventional train services to a speed of 400 km/h and developing maglev (magnetic levitation) trains with a designed top speed of 600 km/h, Zhang added.

According to the China National Image Global Survey, released by China International Publishing Group in August last year, which interviewed 11,000 respondents from 22 countries in Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and Africa, the high-speed train best represents China's scientific and technological achievements.

However, Sun, the professor, said that compared with developed countries of a similar size, the length of China's railways in operation is still insufficient, and more-balanced rail construction will be required to improve accessibility to inland areas.

Next year, China will have 150,000 km of rail tracks in operation, including 30,000 km of high-speed lines reaching more than 80 percent of large and medium-sized cities. Those numbers are expected to rise to 175,000 km and 38,000 km respectively by 2025, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

By next year, the high-speed network will carry 65 percent of all rail passengers, and travel times between adjacent major cities will be shortened to one to four hours, while journeys between regional centers will take less than two hours, the NDRC said.

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