Rapid Development of High Speed Rail in China

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Feb 26, 2015 00:47
On a bleak Friday in this February, standing under a grandiose steel arch of a newly-built train station, I was waiting for a homebound train. The Chinese New Year was around the corner – the only time of year that most Chinese people, especially migrant workers, get to go home. This annual travel crush is the world’s largest migration of humans; more specifically, it is the train crush because trains are the most important means of transport in China.

Speaking of it, you may conjure up a picture in which millions of people struggle to board an already crammed train. In recent years, however, it isn’t the case. More than half of the people, as it is reported, chose high speed rail as their first choice. So, the train I was waiting was, of course, a bullet train, with the speed of around 190 MPH, which would only cost me half an hour to get home. If it was an ordinary train, it would be three hours.

It only takes a few years for the HSR systems to come into people’s daily lives. In 2008, China’s first HSR, from Beijing to Tianjin, was set up. To date, HSR has been stretched across the vast land of China, with a distance of over 10,000 miles. The number is growing because it is still being built; the government seems to want to link every main city with HSR. The officials deemed HSR as a stimulus to the economy, which was also where many opponents were skeptical and argued that the construction was way too expensive, so taxpayers were forced to pay for it, whether they liked it or not, and whether they actually used it or not. Despite the controversy, the government still took its own course (as it always did so), and has accomplished this quantum leap.
在二月寒冷的一天,我在一个高大上的新车站里等回家的火车。春节就要来了,这也是大多数中国人回家团圆的难得机会,因此也有了春运。由于火车是中国最重要的交通工具,所以春运也和火车有关。

说到这里,你也许头脑中会有这样一张画面,很多人想努力地挤上一辆已是人满为患的火车。可是,近几年来,这种情况大为改观。据报道,超过半数的中国人选择乘坐高铁回家。所以我等的车当然也是子弹头高铁,时速可达300公里每小时,我回家只需要花半个小时,而以前乘坐普通火车要3个小时。

其实高铁走入大众的生活只花了几年时间而已。2008年的时候,中国开通了第一条高铁,津京高铁。如今,中国已有超过16000公里的高铁。这个数字还在增长,因为现在仍在建设。中国政府想将中国的各大主要城市都通上高铁,也将其视为经济增长的驱动力之一。很多人也曾经对此抱有怀疑的态度,认为建设高铁花费过高,纳税人不管喜不喜欢,用不用得上,必须为此买单。尽管有争议,政府一如既往地继续建设高铁,也完成了高铁的大跃进。

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