Rail industry speeding ahead in China

Did you know that China’s rail tracks put all together can loop the earth twice? China’s rail transportation network has about 121, 000 km (75,186 mi) from which 25,000 km (15,500 mi) are high-speed train rails. The high-speed trains were first established in Europe during the 80’s and 90’s. However, Asian countries caught up with the technological advancement and climbed to the top of the list. China had its first high-speed line built in 2008 for the Beijing Olympics. Afterwards, the country heavily invested in infrastructure by spending $550 B in the rail industry. The growth of the rail industry in China established it as the number three nation in the world using the highest speed trains. The highest speed train in China runs at speeds of 501 km/h or 311 mph/h, right after Japan (603 km/h; 375 mph/h) and France (575 km /h; 375 mph/h).

High Speed Trains

The fast trains are called CRH (China Railway High-Speed). Different classes such as; G, D or C, differentiate the speed of the trains. The G train is the latest innovation of the CRH, and it runs at a speed above 300 km/h (200 mph) for long distances connecting major cities. The D train is the older version of the G train running at a speed of 250 km/h (155 mph) and connecting medium sized cities for long distances, as well. The C train is the inter-high speed train that runs at a speed of about 200 km/h and is used for short distances.

Rail business in China

The rail industry in China is among the busiest in the world. It is ran by the China Railway Corporation, a state-owned agency (invested by the central government). The revenue from it has grown by 12% annually in the last five years, and in 2017, it earned an estimated $51.7 B. It anticipates a growth of 8.3% annually to 2022, since 1.3 T passengers use this network every year. IBIS Report 2017. Passenger Rail Transport in China.

Futuristic train stations

The train network is so well constructed and connected that it is the primary source of transportation for many Chinese people. The trains run often and are clean, inexpensive, and on time in comparison to air transportation. Railway stations in China often look like futuristic airports. The government plans to build them outside of the city and allow real estate to develop around them. It is pretty easy to purchase tickets online through the e-agency. However, foreigners must pick up their tickets in person in the agency office at the train station. Every train station at the entrance to the train platform has a security check point.  Everyone who enters must show their ID (passport) or Chinese ID, ticket and put their bags through the x-ray system. After that they must walk through a metal detector. In China, safety and security are priorities.

Advancement of the Chinese rail

China’s rail transportation plays a significant role in long–distance transportation in the country.  Everyday about 2,500 trains are on the schedule connecting 200 cities and linking 32 out of the country’s 34 provinces. For instance, the high-speed train connecting Beijing-Shanghai, 1,318 km (819 miles), runs in 4.5 hours. In comparison, the train from New York City to Chicago which operates about the same distance of 712 miles, takes about 22 hours. This makes me realize how far behind U.S.’s infrastructure is from China’s. High-speed trains make long distance travelling more convenient and affordable which is something that the U.S. needs to think about.


Paulina Nowak