This week China announced that it’s going to build a $250 billion Beijing-Moscow bullet train, which could be in service within 10 years.
California’s $68 billion high-speed rail service between Los Angeles and San Francisco, which broke ground earlier this month near Fresno, will take at least 14 years to complete. And it already has a competitor (see below).
The Beijing-Moscow train’s transit time on the 4,500 mile route will decrease from the current six days to just 48 hours, and run along much the same route as the famous Trans-Siberian railway. (See map)
China now has the world’s longest high-speed rail network with over 12,000 miles of track in service — more than the rest of the world’s high speed rail tracks combined. China also claims the current longest high-speed rail route– 1,500 miles between Beijing and Guangzhou.
Construction of a high speed rail line near Guangzhou in 2013 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
According to various sources, the project was once considered by Russia, but due to its current financial crisis turned the project over to China Railway High Speed, the operator of the maglev train the runs between Shanghai airport and Pudong as well as much of China’s high speed rail network.
Promoters of the new Beijing-Moscow train say that it will (of course) be used for passengers. But freight could be even more lucrative with European car manufacturers and food/agricultural concerns already expressing interest in a new, fast and cheap way to get their products into the booming Chinese market.
Back here in the US, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that he is planning to build a five-mile test track for his Hyperloop concept– passenger pods traveling at speeds of up to 760 mph inside vacuum tubes. (See the popular TravelSkills post about this.) Musk claims that the Hyperloop could whisk passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in about 30 minutes and cost less than half as much as California’s current high speed rail project.
I know we talk primarily about air travel on TravelSkills, but a 4,500 mile Beijing Moscow train and the dream of a hyperloop are pretty irresistible- and likely inevitable.
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