• Dec 10th 2010 at 8:31AM
  • 116
In 2007, a French train set the locomotive speed record by hitting 360 miles per hour. Given a pair of wings we wouldn't be surprised if that train could take flight. But, while the record was most impressive, that bullet train was an experimental vehicle carrying no passengers, two power cars and only three rail cars. A new high-speed rail in China that will cut the commute from Beijing to Shanghai from 10 hours to four just set its own record, hitting 302 miles per hour.

So why is 302 mph a record when the French hit 360? Because China's new bullet car was toting 16 cars, some of which were carrying passengers. Even more interesting is the fact that the train will actually be in service in 2011. Perhaps the most exciting part is that the train didn't just crest 302 and then settle back to more pedestrian speeds. Instead, the streamlined super-train was consistently traveling at speeds of 260 mph before cranking up the after-burners past the magic 300 number and then finally settling back at a robust 260. Passengers aboard the bullet claim that the ride isn't much different than the 150-mph train they were used to.

While it's difficult to justify the cost of high-speed rail, we can't help but get excited about the prospect of a locomotive that can travel from Detroit to Chicago in the time it takes to go out to dinner.

[Source: China Daily | Image: AlancrhCC 2.0]


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  • 116 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I won't buy farm raised fish from walmart and surely won't ride on a Chinese built train.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My point is I won't eat chinese farm raised seafood nor ride on that bullet train. My computer says Malaysia and my appliances are Maytag, made in the USA. I read the labels before I buy and maybe you should too.
        • 4 Years Ago
        and you consume it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        all the electronics parts found on a PCB are made in a china, wel pretty much everything.

        transistors, resistors, logic stuff, etc, etc.

        you talk crap
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Chinese aren't stupid but I would not hesitate to call them lazy weasels. They steal whatever they can from countries with the talent and expertise that China lacks. China is still a third-world country by many standards (will be for decades) and China has, and probably never will, have the same mindset of Western countries where innovation and free-thinking are what drives new technologies and innovations. It's far easier to just reverse-engineer or tweak existing ideas and stamp "Made in China" on the product to sell it for far less than the company who made the original product. How can they do this and make money? Easy, they don't have to recoup the engineering costs...

      The French train that went 360 mph? That's the same train the Chinese are using and simply modified it to go faster; the Chinese media published the story to drive Chinese nationalism and it seems that piece was left out...
      • 4 Years Ago
      for those who can still see straight,vhere's a 40 min Discovery Channel video in ENGLISH about this train and the 380 PDL from Beijing to Shanghai

      (takes about a minute to load first)

      http://www.56.com/u91/v_NTY2ODA2MTY.html
      • 4 Years Ago
      I predict the Chinese train will have a horrific accident at speed within its first year of service. And the culprit? Counterfeit parts or dodgy materials.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It already has, at least once per week, it just goes unreported or concealed by qinese authorities.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well...when you borrow money from the Chinese to pay for trillions in tax cuts, and spend those tax cuts on Chinese-made crap from Wal-Mart, guess what China can do w/all that money pouring in from the U.S.

      Fun toys that creates jobs and moves people around.

      This country is so screwed up.
      • 4 Years Ago
      These projects will never past the cost-benefit proposition here in the US.

      I would rather see the money for these projects go to fix our crumbling road infrastructure -- instead of creating a whole new train infrastructure that will also need billions for maintenance.

      In America, we drive cars or take the airplane.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "better spend the billions WISELY on refurbishing roadways, instead of this "Train to Nowhere" planned for in CA". Sure, so we can repair it to sit in traffic. As someone who lives in CA as well, this high speed rail corridor can't come soon enough. It would take you dirrectly into dt SF and into dt LA, it would be quicker than a flight when you factor in security and luggage check and you can actually stretch out on these trains and get work done on free wifi.

        Cross country rail is dead but these highspeed corridors are an excellent idea. If you need proof, check out how well it does in the northeast corridor, it's Amtrak's only profitable line, that means it pays for itself unlike roads that need our tax dollars. It's a huge investment but well worth it in certain areas.
        • 4 Years Ago
        http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/letters-editor/2010/12/high-speed-rail-really-train-nowhere

        "The Los Angeles Times and Associated Press refer to the California high-speed rail project as a “Train to Nowhere,” analogous to Alaska’s incomplete “Bridge to Nowhere.”

        The analogy is correct. The California High-Speed Rail Authority board just approved spending $4.5 billion in state and federal taxpayer money to lay tracks from Borden to Corcoran (65 miles, combined population of 25,000). The segment won’t be operational because $4.5 billion doesn’t include costs for trains, electrical wires or eminent-domain property takings, nor is a station in the environmental impact review plans between these small cities.

        Extrapolate out 65 miles of flat land, and the $4.5 billion cost, to the remaining 735 miles of high-speed rail tracks (including the densely populated Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego areas) where eminent-domain lawsuits and forcible eviction fights will occur, then add in costs for trains, electrification, stations, et al., and you arrive at Stanford professor Alain Enthoven’s $213 billion estimate for just the first phase of construction.

        California can’t afford this boondoggle.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed...better spend the billions WISELY on refurbishing roadways, instead of this "Train to Nowhere" planned for in CA.

        http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/letters-editor/2010/12/high-speed-rail-really-train-nowhere
      • 4 Years Ago
      Liu Xiaobo commented "I can't wait to ride this... oh wait."
        • 4 Years Ago
        +1 for what might be an under-appreciated comment.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Too soon.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Nard.. not soon enough.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Meanwhile, the Acela express between Philadelphia and DC does 85mph. Suck it, China.
      • 4 Years Ago
      waiting for the haters to start saying the Chinese stole the bullet train technology in 3...2...1...fortune cookie!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not sure what your point is. The Chinese had no high-speed rail technology, they invitied foreign companies to build high-speed rail in the country, and then they built trains that looked EXACTLY like the foreign trains, but with minor cosmetic modifications and slightly improved the specifications. If I reverse-engineer a turbo-charged car engine, and then add 2psi to its boost, it's still stealing, even if I've improved it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @nardvark: I take Nozomi (go ahead and google that) on a regular basis and I can assure you the max it'll ever hit is 300...kilometers an hour.

        It's like saying Ferrari stole from Ford, or Springfield Armory stole from the Chinese gunpowder invention. How about we thank Hitler for our interstate system?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @nardvark: No, they didn't They purchased Kawasaki, Siemens, and Bombardier technology and learned from it. They used the E2 as a base for the design which is why it's one of the main influences, but they've evolved the design (from what they learned from Siemens and Bombardier) so much that it cannot be called a copy. Not even close. What's the top speed of the E2 by the way? What's the top speed of this train? Rail journals have been calling this train Chinese-designed now without controversy. The only people who seem to think they aped Kawasaki or Siemens designs (I've seen both accusations amusingly) are the general public who just read the WSJ...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well..
        They did. This does not matter in China, where there is no chance of suing them and winning, but this will make it impossible to sell these anywhere with a judicial system that is not based on patriotism. So Californians, no cheap chinese knock-off trains for you. Even the Russians bought the German technology
        • 4 Years Ago
        shadowKFC: Guess what, CSR and CNR purchased full manufacturing rights as well as technology transfer for those previous generation models, and the four major HSR makers have absolutely no objection to CRH380 series, they are only secretly mad about the possibility that China may export the tech, which is not part of the initial agreement. However I believe legally they cannot challenge that because they can't prove their claim, that's why GE has formed a joint venture with CSR to supply HSR trainsets to CA, if there are any legal disputes I doubt GE would do that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is the type of thing we should be leading the charge on where appropriate (the northeast corridor for example). China, India and other eastern asian countries will be leaving us in the dust as time goes on. Their economies and middle class are rapidly growing, they are cranking our more and more engineers (all we crank out are lawyers and bankers). Partisan bickering in DC means that we will go nowhere. As the innovation that has keep this country on top for years dwindles I think our future starts to dim. Our transportation infrastructure, whether roads, rails or air is an example of this and I don't see anything on the horizon that will change this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dern

        it should be between al cities with a population over 500.000.

        i can go from valencia to madrid in 2 hours for just litle over 32€
        with car this takes 4 hours atleast.

        with airplane it would take probably atleast 4 hours.
        considering you have to be there 1,5 hour before on the airport and after that you need to wait 20 atleast until you can get out of the plane, than you have to travel to the airport too.

        the train is very good.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Please suggest a corridor in the USA that could benefit from a bullet train.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I grew up during the time the U.S. built an Interstate highway system from scratch and put a man on the moon. I can see that it's "difficult to justify the cost of high speed rail" nowadays. But I hope the time comes again when we will be ready, willing and able to take on a big idea again.
      • 4 Years Ago
      +10
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