Chinese Harmony, the Fastest Train on Earth

Having earned an unprecedented edge on the automotive market this year, China extended its offensive into the railway sector and set a new speed record for long-distance passenger trains over the weekend. Simply put, the trip between Guangzhou, capital of southern Guangdong province and the city of Wuhan, which normally took 11 hours, can now be done in less than three.

The train which managed the feat is part of a new long-distance passenger train service. Called Harmony express, the train swept across 1,100km in China at average speeds of 350 km per hour on its debut run... 50 km/hour faster than Japan's Shinkansen bullet trains and France's TGV. The record setting speed was managed during pre-launch trials and stands at 394 km/h.

According to CNN, citing local media reports, the Chinese government spent $17 billion to develop the new Harmony express line and $2.4 billion to create a French-designed train station, with 20 tracks and 11 platforms.

Record aside, critics have already began having their say on the project as a whole. According to Zheng Tianxiang, a Guangzhou-based infrastructure expert, China got it all wrong.

"China has focused on building expressways but that is an American method," Tianxiang told CNN. "Expressways are not suited for China, which has large numbers of people but little space to spare. China should learn from Japan and Europe."

In addition, the stations located at each end of the line are at least an hour's drive from the centers of the city which they serve. Last, but not least, prices for the tickets (which can go as high as $115 for first class – a round trip worth about two thirds of an average factory worker's monthly wage), may not encourage people to use the train.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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