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Article by 龙信明
China's High-Speed Trains

Romantic, Comfortable, and Superior to Flying

Click Here for Page 2, containing many photos of China's HSR Trains and a selection of news articles with more photos.

Shanghai's Maglev train at the Longyang Road Station
There are two categories of these HSR (high-speed rail) trains in China today - D and G. The D-trains are the first generation of China's HSR production and generally travel at speeds up to 275 Kms./hr. depending on the track.

The G-trains are the newest generation and have set a speed record of over 485 Kms./hr., but typically travel at 380 Kms./hr. China wants speeds of over 500 Kms/hr.

The D-trains operate on traditional rail beds and tracks, while the G-trains run on special, dedicated, elevated tracks laid on bare concrete to reduce flexure. These elevated tracks are supported by huge columns of high strength concrete.

China also has the world's only operating Maglev train (in Shanghai), which runs from the Pudong Airport to the Longyang Road Station where it connects with the city's subway system for a quick ride to the city center, the Hongqiao Airport and the city's railway stations. It travels at 430 Kms./hr.
This Maglev line is being extended through the city and will continue to Hangzhou - the central city in ZheJiang Province. Beijing has also approved construction of a lower-speed Maglev train through part of the city.

The Maglev technology has a mixed history and many people question its benefits. The Maglev tends to be faster than conventional trains at 420 Kms./hr. but citizens worry about the effects of the magnetic fields surrounding the track. For this reason, the extension of Shanghai's system was delayed for several years while studies were done.

Also, Maglev technology is expensive compared to conventional and high-speed rail and, although low-speed Maglev trains are simple to construct, the higher speeds require very complex technology and computer management systems to operate properly.

  • Ride or Fly?

  • The G-Trains travelling at 380 Kms./hr. are as fast as flying for trips of 1,200 to 1,500 Kms., and much faster than flying for shorter trips. Here is an example of the travel time between Shanghai and Beijing:
    ComparisonCommute time to StationPre-departure allowanceTravel TimePost-Arrival CommuteDoor-to-door Total Time
    Airplane1 hour1 hour2 hours1 hour5 hours
    Train20 mins.20 mins.4 hours20 mins.5 hours
    A friend of mine sent this live example. He used to drive every weekend from Beijing to Tianjin (about 170 Kms. door to door). The trip typically took 2.5 hours total time, about 1 hour on the highway and 1.5 hours within the 2 cities. He said, "Plus road rage."

    Now he takes the HSR each weekend with a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes door to door, 25 minutes on the train, the rest on taxis at either end.

    As to cost, the highway toll was 70 RMB each way, plus gasoline maybe 30 RMB. The train ticket is 58 RMB, taxis about 30 RMB.

    So the time is reduced by half (with no road rage) and the out-of-pocket cost is 20% less. In fact, driving costs would have to include insurance and depreciation, maintenance, so the real cost of driving is much higher than the train.
  • Travelling by Train

  • One of the great advantages of train travel compared to flying is the saving in wasted time.

    This photo is of China's CRH-380 G-train that set a speed record of 415 Kms./hr.
    To take a flight in any country normally involves a one-hour trip to the airport, with a requirement to arrive at least one or 1.5 hours prior to departure.

    This is especially true in China, where check-in must be completed at least 30 minutes prior to take-off. Even that requirement may leave you stranded because in China 'departure' doesn't mean pushing back from the gate; it means pushing the throttles forward for take-off.

    At the arrival end, there is always the seemingly long wait to deplane, the genuinely long walk to the baggage carousels or the exits, and then the one hour or more trip downtown.

    For travel in China, whether on trains or planes, you don't want to be late. If the departure time is advertised at 8:11, the train will be moving at 8:11 and it will be to your advantage to be on it.
    First-time travellers will be surprised to discover that there is no conductor who waves a lantern and calls out, "All Aboard!". Instead, the pressurised doors just close silently and the train begins moving.

    For a normal trip, one arrives at the station with luggage in hand only 15 or 20 mins. before departure. Since the station is downtown, the travel time there is minimal.  There is no 'check-in' process as with the airlines, and only the typical security check and luggage scanners when entering the station. On arrival at the station, you can spend time in the waiting rooms if you're early, or simply find the correct platform and board your train. Walking distances are normally far less than in most airports.

    A Chinese CRH D-train in the station in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
    As you will see from the photos, train carriages are wide, with far more legroom and headroom than that available on commercial aircraft. The seats are much wider and more comfortable, and can recline to a considerable degree. There is often a folding table between pairs of seats.

    The carriages have adequate luggage space, with all your luggage constantly available, and the aisles have adequate room to get up and walk around. A great advantage to many is that wi-fi (and GPS) signals are constantly available for mobile phones and laptops, and power supplies are often accessible.

    All in all, the trains are comfortable and very quiet, with only a soft clacking of the rails. Trains are mercifully free of the wind noise and (especially) the incessant hum of the engines as in an aircraft.  I find travel on these trains is really very much better than sitting in a plane.
    On a plane, we are forced to adhere to a rigid schedule: this is the time for coffee or tea, the time for a meal, the time to close the window curtains and darken the cabin so the staff can rest.  If the food cart is out, you cannot get up to walk around or go to the bathroom.  Everything seems regulated and under pressure. Leaving your seat is often a major inconvenience.

    By contrast, on the train you are free to do as you please.  Your luggage is accessible at any time, the food carts come by regularly, the dining car is always there, the seats are as wide or wider than airline business class, the aisles are wide enough to accommodate passengers, and everything is much more relaxed.  It is very easy to sleep on a train.

    At the destination, since that station is also downtown, you just wheel out your bag and hail a taxi and you're there.

    The greatest advantage of train travel may not be the saving in time so much as the great convenience and comfort.  The trains are definitely much superior in both these categories.  There is an absence of pressure, or apprehension, of noise. As well, train travel avoids the sometimes extensive security screening delays we often experience at airports.

    Security screening at airports in China is much more polite than in North America and we don't ever experience the rude or offensive, accusatory behavior common at many Western airports. All in all, train travel just eliminates so many unpleasant elements, and a big plus is that you can see the countryside as you travel; from a plane, we see nothing. Most people find that trains are far more pleasant. relaxing and enjoyable.

  • Some Travel Information

  • An artist's conception of a new train design. High-Speed trains lend themselves to many beautiful design shapes. This drawing is of a concept by Bombardier of Canada.
    Many readers have commented on the unsuitability of HSR for areas in the US, due to the number of communities that might be served and the consequent number of stops - which would serve to negate the advantage of high-speed trains.

    China has arrived at an elegant solution for this problem. As an example, the 275 Km. route from Shanghai to Nanjing serves 6 communities between the two terminal stations.

    This route has 38 daily trains each way, some travelling on an express basis and making no stops, with others stopping at one or several cities on route.
    This has proven to be a convenient method to serve all cities while still maintaining low average travel times.

    Train frequency is a great plus for travel in China, with departures often every 10 minutes from most major centers to most others, with varying numbers of stops for each train. The same is true with airlines in China, with flights seemingly departing from everywhere to everywhere every 30 minutes or so.

    The new high-speed trains, especially the CRH-380, have dramatically reduced the travel time between most major centers. The Shanghai-Beijing route used to take 12 hours but has now been reduced to only 4 hours. Shanghai-Nanjing has been reduced from 4 hours to 2 hours to only 1 hour with the new CRH-380. Shanghai-Hangzhou is down from 2 hours to 40 minutes. Wuhan to Guangzhou is down from 14 hours to only 3 hours.

    The old Shanghai-Beijing trains were most often popular as a night train, leaving at 7:00 or 8:00 PM and arriving the following morning. This was a convenient enough way to travel as the sleepers are very comfortable, no office time was lost during the day, and the night trip saved the cost of a hotel room. Now, the new HSR trip is only 4 hours, perhaps 5 hours door-to-door, and competes well with flying at any time of the day.

  • Planning and Building

  • A high-speed train runs on the railway linking Shanghai and Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, on Tuesday. The speed of the China-made vehicle reached a record high of 416.6 km/h. [Wang Dingchang / Xinhua]
    China has demonstrated the ability to plan and complete major projects of many kinds in short order, which in many ways is due to the historical evolution of the country. It is in large part due to the absence of competing constituencies that projects can be completed in record times.

    Since China has not followed the privatisation policies of many Western countries, it has retained control of much of the infrastructure. By contrast, the US and Canada in particular have more extensive private corporate ownership of the ways and means, having privatised the railways, airlines and (often) airports as well, railways and rail rights of way, toll highways and much else. This policy is not often an advantage when changes must be made.

    China is not so sold on private infrastructure ownership as many Western countries - a great blessing when one is looking for rapid and efficient development. The country is able to plan and amend its entire travel infrastructure as a whole, considering air, rail and road, taking into account only the benefits to the entire country rather than having to appease a multitude of private interests.

    For the HSR program, since the government owns the rail lines and the rights of way, it is free to pland and build new track, reallocate the uses of existing track and rights of way, and to plan an efficient system on a country-wide scale. Part of the logic for the HSR system is to compress passenger travel on these dedicated tracks and free much of the slower existing rail system for freight, to remove trucks from the nation's highways.

    This might prove to be difficult, if not impossible, in places like North America where too many competing private interests have much to gain or lose from such an overall plan. Various rail lines, airline companies, trucking companies, property owners and many other constituencies would exercise powerful lobbies to encourage or prevent various aspects of such development, often ignoring the greater overall good of the nation.

    In the absence of competing interests, a nationwide plan can be conceived, examined, discussed and approved in a much shorter time than in countries with a different system, and implementation times much reduced as well.

  • The Future of Rail Travel

  • This is China's older He Xie Hao, or Harmony, train, the CRH1.
    Domestically, the face of transport and travel in China are changing rapidly because of the HSR program.

    The 380 Kms./hr. trains on the Zhengzhou-Xi'An and Wuhan-Guangzhou lines have cut travel time so dramatically that many airline services on the routes have been suspended. The same will be true with the Shanghai-Beijing route and others that develop.

    Train travel is much less expensive than flying; it is greener and much more cost-efficient for both passengers and freight. And certainly it is much preferable to the prospect of several hundred million cars on the nation's highways.

    China has realised that the North American model of scattered suburbs and destinations largely or totally dependent on the automobile is just not sustainable in the future.
    One of the reasons China is building the HSR network is to free all the old passenger tracks for freight, to get the trucks off the highways. And it will accomplish this in spades. The old trains on the (for e.g.) Shanghai-Nanjing route needed 4 hours plus; the new trains need only 60 minutes and there are 38 trains each way each day - carrying perhaps 150,000 passengers. That frees a huge amount of track time for freight.

    China's high-speed rail ambitions are already global. China Railway Group Ltd., a civil-engineering company, is participating in a high-speed rail project in Venezuela. China Railway Construction Corp. is helping build a high-speed line in Turkey linking Ankara and Istanbul. China's Railway ministry has said Chinese companies are bidding for contracts in Brazil, and that Russia, Saudi Arabia and Poland have expressed interest. The Obama administration, which has allotted $8 billion to build high-speed train networks, has said it is open to bids from Chinese companies.

    China plans an HSR network spanning almost 10,000 miles by 2020.
    China is already expanding its domestic rail network to mesh with new routes in Vietnam and plans to extend a route all the way to Singapore.

    Chinese rail officials are also in the planning stages of a high-speed rail route through Western China and Xinjiang Province, through Kyrgystan and other 'stans', connecting with the lines in Turkey and proceeding Westward into Europe.

    It may one day soon be possible to travel by HSR all the way from Shanghai to London - at a fraction of the cost of flying, and with far more comfort and the ability to see many countries on route.

    Today, from the US and Brazil to Turkey and Saudi Arabia, Chinese companies are selling and building HSR railways that in most cases are faster than any offered by other foreign companies.

    The fastest trains now operating in Japan and Europe travel below 300 Kms./hr. (200 mph), while China's CRH380A has reached almost 500 Kms./hr (310 mph).
    Many say China's rise as a new train power brings much good to the industry, helping to push others to build their own networks. Says Murray King, a rail analyst at research firm APCO Worldwide Inc.: "You have to give at least partial credit to China."

    The future of China's rail industry is being assembled in a sprawling CSR manufacturing complex in the port city of Qingdao. Called the CRH-380A, the newest train is equipped with first-class seats that fold completely flat, and it can travel at 380 Kms./hr (236 mph). When it goes into service in 2011 linking Beijing and Shanghai, the train will cut travel time to four hours from 10, and will be part of a network that is expected to extend 9,700 miles by 2020.

    Domestic companies have added enhancements and innovations that make today's final HSR product uniquely Chinese.
    In the province of Alberta in Canada, the government is considering the construction of an HSR line connecting the two major cities - a route of 300 Kms. (200 miles).

    The planning stage is expected to take 5 years and cost $50 million; if approved, the subsequent construction process is projected to require another 5 years at least.

    And the interim negotiations for right of way, the bidding processes, the dealing with all the various private interests as well as the cities involved, is expected to add 5 years to the process.

    In China, for the new CRH-380 line from Shanghai to Beijing, a distance of almost 1,500 Kms., the planning was unobstructed and therefore swift.
    For construction and execution, the government hired almost 140,000 workers to work on multiple sections simultaneously and the entire project will be completed in two years.

    China's large and low-cost labor force is definitely an advantage in this process, not only for speed of execution but also for cost. In the US, the cost of an HSR line along the Eastern seaboard has been estimated at 117 billion dollars. In China, the Shanghai-Beijing route is twice as long and will cost between 11 billion and 12 billion. Certainly the low labor cost is not the sole cause of this price difference; much of the balance lies in current government ownership of the ways and means.

    It is also critical to note that economic development follows transportation, and it isn't always wise to wait for population density to reach some critical mass before transportation planning and construction. Countries like Canada and the US might never have developed without the cross-country transportation systems being in place.

    In Canada's case, the country stagnated until the completion of the Trans-Canada rail lines; it was this that permitted the settling and development of the nation. In the case of a country like the US, many more decades auto-dependent development before planning high-speed rail, might condemn the country to irreversible transport deficiencies.
  • Could Transportation Assist the Undoing of a Nation?

  • The following is an excerpt copied from an article, the source of which was unidentified; with apologies.

    Winston Churchill famously said that history is written by the victors. If this is true, then the definitive history of the rapidly declining American empire may well be written in Mandarin. A theme likely to be emphasized in that history will be the enormous strategic error the once great nation made by enslaving itself to individual motorized transportation. China is determined not to make this tragic mistake.

    One of the major long term (25 year plan) initiatives undertaken in China is to build a modern, high speed efficient passenger rail network. The Chinese understand that following the American model of development, namely suburbanization, automobile dependency, road building and paving over farmlands are simply not sustainable regardless of how the vehicles are powered; and not desirable in a society that wishes to survive and thrive for the long run.

    Can anyone imagine an American government that had a 25 year plan for anything that did not involve completely unnecessary and impractical high-tech weapons systems?

    Americans will learn this lesson eventually, not through some epiphany nor the result of enlightened leadership, but perhaps when the nation's infrastructure continues to degrade to the point where there is no longer a functioning nationwide transportation network to move goods and people around the country.

    This was of course avoidable. But when the nation had one last good chance to invest what remained of its dwindling national wealth, it chose to double-down on the existing unsustainable happy motoring society instead of building a viable public rail transportation network.

  • Some Development Background

  • Prior to the 2008 Olympics, China inaugurated an HSR link between Beijing and Tianjin that operated at 330 Kms/hr.
    Industries such as autos and aerospace have long sought to tap China's vast market, entering into joint ventures that have brought them enormous reward.

    So when the Japanese and European companies that pioneered high-speed rail agreed to build trains for China, they thought they'd be getting access to a booming new market, billions of dollars worth of contracts and the cachet of creating the most ambitious rapid rail system in history.

    The foreign firms' eagerness to agree to the sale of technology was based on expectations that the Chinese would need perhaps 30 years to absorb and implement the technology before being ready to proceed on their own.

    What they didn't count on was having to compete with Chinese firms who adapted and improved their technology and produced superior products just a few years later.
    In the event, China required less than 5 years, and the foreign firms are now facing global competition as the Chinese companies develop and improve the technology while taking advantage of their large scale and lower costs.

    By selling their original technology, some companies opened the door for their customers to compete against them in the global marketplace. Today, Chinese rail companies that were once junior partners with the likes of Kawasaki, Siemens, Alstom and Bombardier are vying against them in the burgeoning global market for super-fast train systems.

  • Technology Transfer is not Free

  • This CHR-380 train on the line between Zhengzhou and Xi'An has cut travel time so dramatically that many airline services on the route have been suspended.
    High-speed rail was pioneered in post-war Japan in the 1950s and early 1960s with the construction of the Shinkansen 'bullet train'.

    France, Germany and other European countries followed suit in the 1980s. Serious thinking about building faster rail in China began in the 1990s, with the aim of developing the poor hinterland.

    To make up for a late start, the Chinese government looked abroad. In 2004, China signed agreements with Alstom and Kawasaki Heavy Industries to cooperate with local firms in building HSR train sets for China.

    Kawasaki, who designed the original Hayate bullet train, signed a deal with the Chinese ministry of Railways for the transfer of a full spectrum of HSR technology to a manufacturer in Qingdao.
    China's arrangement to obtain European and Japanese high-speed train technologies carried a stiff price. Kawasaki's 2004 deal with the Railways Ministry, which included the transfer of the whole spectrum of technology and know-how for the bullet train, cost China 80 billion yen, or about $760 million at the time. Siemens and Bombardier signed similar deals with China, to transfer the technology necessary to produce their train sets.

    Chinese firms also paid many millions of dollars in fees to purchase upgrades of the technology and further training; in many cases, Chinese engineers were sent to Europe and Japan for extended periods for study. Later, the companies helped set up production facilities within China. They trained Chinese engineers while helping the country develop its own supply chain for train components.

    Kawasaki originally manufactured a number of Hayate train sets and exported them to China fully assembled, then helped Qingdao Sifang produce another approximately 50 sets locally, using some components imported from Japan. After providing the technology for a 200 Kms./hr. train, Kawasaki also agreed to supply China with technology updates to boost the incremental speeds, each time signing a new deal that produced many millions of dollars in new fees.

  • Evolution Rather Than Revolution

  • Kawasaki Industries designed the Hayate bullet train pictured here, and later sold the technology to a Chinese manufacturer in Qingdao.
    China's government acknowledges that the trains it now produces were developed on a platform of foreign technology.

    But China was generally given access to only the older generations of technology, with all firms retaining their latest developments for themselves. The Kawasaki technology for e.g., was for trains capable of speeds 250 Kms./hr. (150 mph).

    Other countries have also used and adapted foreign technology. Post-war Japan pulled off its transformation in part by reverse-engineering foreign technologies, eventually developing a stable of tech companies, steel producers, shipbuilders and auto makers, including Honda and Toyota.

    South Korea followed a similar path. What's unique about China is its vast domestic market, which makes foreign companies willing to sell their technology and know-how for a piece of the action.
    Officials say domestic companies like CSR added combinations, enhancements and innovations that make today's final product uniquely Chinese. CSR engineers and executives say they have adapted and improved the old original technology to make trains that are faster and better. "China's railway industry produced this new generation of high-speed train sets by learning and systematically compiling and re-innovating foreign high-speed train technology," the Railways Ministry said.

    On the factory floor before half-assembled sections of the needle-nosed, blue-and-silver CRH-380A trains, Liang Jianying, a senior CSR engineer, explains how the company reduced wheel-to-track friction and made the train more aerodynamic. "We improved, optimized, and self-innovated, and came up with a brand new design," she says. "Underneath, this is nothing like Kawasaki's bullet train," says Wu Qunliang, chief spokesman for the CSR factory.

    Kawasaki executives admit they didn't provide any propulsion or other core technologies or know-how to China, and that the new trains such as those on the Shanghai-Nanjing-Beijing route that travel in excess of 380 Kms/hr. are due to Chinese improvements in the basic technology.

  • A Look at Technology Transfers

  • The photo is of a Bombardier train in Normandy, France, on which is based one of China's older CRH-1 series.
    Whenever the subject of technology transfer arises, there seems to always arise a flurry of accusations about copying or stealing. Readers should carefully note that China did not "steal" anyone's rail technology; instead, it was all purchased.

    China paid billions of dollars for that transfer of technology. It is the same in all important industries today. China has the money, and is willing to pay handsomely for technology it needs to further its development.

    It is true that China does push foreign companies to agree to sales of technology and know-how, but what would any of us do in a similar situation? Remain in the third world forever?

    There is nothing evil or sinister in a country trying to learn new technology so it doesn't spend the rest of its life making toasters and running shoes.
    If Boeing is now making aircraft, there is nothing dishonorable in wanting to learn how to make them too. And if you pay billions of dollars for the technology and the know-how, Boeing can hardly complain later if you end up building better planes than they do.

    Western firms tend to confuse their head start with their R&D capacity, and often attribute both to some natural superiority, assuming they are more innovative rather than simply having enjoyed that head start. Kawasaki and Siemens may have suffered from overconfidence; certainly they were taken by surprise when Chinese engineers caught up so quickly. But China made it clear from the very beginning of the talks that their intention was to buy a set of trains as a starting platform and re-innovate.

    China's 480 Km./hr. trains are versions of original trains supplied some years earlier, but with new propulsion systems, motors, structures and many other elements.
    Kawasaki and Siemens knew that, so they refused to sell their most advanced technology and just assumed their R&D capability would keep them always one step ahead, permitting them to capture the entire Chinese market.

    However, they didn't realize just how much faster Chinese R&D was compared to their own, and were then caught off guard as China raced past them in just a few years.

    The US made the same assumption with Japanese automobiles, just as the British did with the US 100 years ago.

    Its easy to become overconfident and forget that just because you had a head start does not mean you run faster.

    And in fairness, credit must be given to the Chinese government and Chinese engineers for foresight and careful planning.
    Years earlier, the government had planned the largest scale HSR network in the world and committed large sums to fund the program. Chinese engineers worked hard and smart to overcome all the barriers in a short time period and exceed everyone's expectations.

    There is no need for envy just because China is competing world-wide for HSR orders. Without China setting a good example on such a scale, the world-wide interest and market for HSR wouldn't be very large. Many decades passed since the Japanese built the first HSR; little was done in the way of development and relatively few miles of HSR track was laid down in the world before China entered the picture. Certainly part of the reason was that the Japanese hoarded their technology for the sake of national pride, rather than marketing it to the world. By the time they changed their attitude, the world had passed them by and their tecnology is now old.

    Developing countries are particularly grateful that China has brought and will bring down the cost of HSR so that more countries can afford it. The reason Asia's mobile phone market has grown so fast and so large is due to Chinese firms like Huawei and ZTE who have managed astonishing innovation and cost efficiency.

    Also, the foreign companies are not losers in this process. The scale and size of China's HSR build-out are indeed mouth-watering, but China would simply not invest so much money before mastering the technology - it would wait until its manufacturers were ready. The foreign companies are still reaping billions of dollars contracts by being suppliers. Plus, China is aggressively pushing the technology envelope, such that foreign suppliers are also being able to gain valuable experience and improve their technologies. For example, Bombardier would not have had the opportunity to develop and build 380 kmh class trains had it not been for the large Chinese orders.

    High speed rail was pioneered in Europe and Japan. But until China came along, there wasn't much market outside those areas. China entering the market validates the feasibility for broader adoption and also makes it more affordable. For the European and Japanese companies, the Chinese competition may eliminate their domination of the market, but their smaller slice of the much bigger pie still means a lot more business than otherwise.

  • And Some Sellers' Remorse

  • The design of China's CRH-380 series is based on Siemens' Velaro series, like the example shown here in St. Petersburg.
    Most foreign companies refrain from criticizing China's HSR policies. Bernd Eitel, a spokesman for Siemens, says the German company has "a trusting relationship" with its Chinese partners and expects that to continue.

    Bombardier China President Zhang Jiawei said in a statement that "we have contracts and agreements, and both sides respect" them.

    The Japanese have taken a rather different position. Initially, Japan refused to transfer any of its HRS technology to any country, preferring to keep its monopoly at home as a source of national pride.

    It agreed to a technology sale rather late in the process, and held back the latest generation of developments. When China proved its ability to combine technologies from all firms and create a new, superior product, the Japanese appeared quite bitter.
    And 'bitter' may be an understatement. In recent interviews, Japan's Ministry of Transportation and some rail executives were quoted as saying that their trains could be just as fast, and that China's trains are faster only because the Chinese ignore safety and don't care how many people die. But in fact, China's rail safety record is at the highest level, and rail travel everywhere is safer than airline travel. For comparison, in the airline industry China's safety record today surpasses that of Japan, and is not second to that of any country or airline in the world.

    A passenger examines a map of China's proposed HSR rail system. The more highly-populated East and South will initially benefit most from the rail expansion program.
    Kawasaki then also denied that China had created its own technology, stating that China's 380 Km./hr. trains in operation today are just 'tweaked versions' of its original bullet train supplied to China many years earlier.

    The company says they contain only a few variations to the exterior paint scheme and interior trim, and beefed-up propulsion systems for faster speeds.

    And they now suggest they originally intended their technology transfer to be used exclusively within China, and that Chinese companies can't use it in products they intend to export.

    The claims appear groundless, based on resentment at China's swift innovations and roll-out, and on their lost competitive advantage from hoarding their technology rather than deploying it worldwide.
    According to Kawasaki, the real problem appears to be that China's strategy will make it extremely difficult for them to compete against Chinese firms in global markets. "How are you supposed to fight rivals after you have sold them your techology, and their cost base is so much lower?"

    The Japanese firms especially are upset because Chinese trains are 100 km/h faster and have a lower cost, and they now realise they hoarded their technology for too long and have been surpassed. It's not easy marketing when your main sales pitch is that the other guy's faster and cheaper trains are copies of your slow and expensive ones.

    For China's part, they claim exclusive rights to that intellectual property, for which they paid a heavy price, adding that it is their own engineering and innovative skills that have produced the envious result.

    China's New High-Speed Trains - Photos and News Articles

    Click Here for Page 2, containing many photos of China's HSR Trains and a selection of news articles with more photos.

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  • In This Series:

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  • A Brief Catalog of Chinese Invention: 60% of Basic Knowledge Originated in China.

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  • Chinese Innovation - Business Models You've Never Even Heard Of.

  • Chinese Scientific Research Center Has Built the Fastest Computer Ever Made.

  • Volkswagen Aqua: A Beautiful Chinese-designed Hovercraft.

  • 大众汽车 Aqua 气垫船: 一位美丽的中国设计的气垫船.

  • China's High-Speed Trains: Romantic, Comfortable, and Superior to Flying.

  • China's New Submersible: Diving into an Ocean of Elite Nations.

  • Unwired: China's Mobile Phone System is the World's Best.

  • China: Rise, Fall and Re-Emergence as a Global Power: Some Lessons from the Past - By James Petras.

  • China’s Rise, America’s Fall: Why Nations Fail - by Ron Unz.