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.



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