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Old April 10th, 2012, 12:57 AM   #3841
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Vertically Chinese cities are very dense, but horizontally, if you look at a map of a new district, the road patterns are distinctly American - large square grids with impermeable wide motorways.

Car ownership as a percentage of population is meaningless - what you need to look at is the number of cars by unit area - you can't stack roads on top of each other to the same extent you can residential dwellings. In Chinese cities (strandeed we are talking about cities) even a 10% car ownership by population makes the area-based figure sky-high. Basically 10 car-owning homes in each 150-home apartment block in a Chinese city produces the same pressure on the roads as 100% household car ownership in an American suburb, which is too much already.

The fact is the car is still regarded as a status symbol in China and that has a very damaging effect. Mass transit isn't everything as the last km or local journeys still require surface public transport (buses) and walking, and circuitous walking routes and inaccessible bus stops certainly don't help.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 03:45 AM   #3842
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World Bank Paper: Cautiously Optimistic about High-Speed Rail in China

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World Bank Paper: Cautiously Optimistic about High-Speed Rail in China

April 6, 2012

BEIJING, April 6, 2012 – High-speed rail services have now been operating in China for three years. How are they performing? What has happened to the conventional services they parallel? What has been the impact on airlines? A new World Bank paper reviews the performance in terms of traffic of the high-speed rail program in China, after three years of operations.

The paper reviews some of the early evidence of the high-speed rail impact on service and fares, on conventional trains and air transport, as well as initial levels of ridership. Ultimately, the appropriate time frame to deliver final judgment on the program will be measured in decades, not years. However, evidence accumulated to date provides some interesting insights. The paper titled “High-Speed Rail – The First Three Years, Taking the Pulse of China’s Emerging Program” prepared by Richard Bullock and Ying Jin, together with World Bank transport specialist Andrew Salzberg, is based upon thirty year experience of the World Bank in China, and thorough understanding by the authors of railways in China today.

In regard to more than the total volume of traffic carried on China’s young high-speed rail system, the paper notes that it is already larger in volume than that on the entire French high-speed rail system and is rivaling the volume on the Japanese high-speed rail system. Rapid growth in traffic on China’s high speed rail system will continue as the many lines under construction are completed, urban incomes rise, and the movement of the population from the rural areas to the cities continues.

“A general picture is emerging in which high-speed rail, as in other countries, is competing strongly on short and medium-distance routes up to 1,000 km while air remains dominant over longer distances,” commented Richard Bullock, a railway expert and consultant to the World Bank. Overall, however, and maybe surprising to some, passengers moving from air to high-speed rail have not been a major source of high speed rail ridership. A larger source has been ‘generated’ trips: new trips by passengers who were induced to travel by the greater convenience of high speed service.

Based on this evidence and the continuing strong growth in Chinese urban populations and incomes, the paper is cautiously optimistic about the long-term ridership (and hence economic viability) of the major trunk railways of the high-speed rail network in China. However, this optimism is tempered by the need to develop a sustainable financing mechanism in the short to medium term and to carefully weigh the costs and benefits of the peripheral extensions of the network.

The paper is the fourth of a series of papers on transport produced by the World Bank in Beijing.

http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/201...-rail-in-china
And the document itself (8 pages long in pdf and plain text format): http://documents.worldbank.org/curat...erging-program
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Old April 10th, 2012, 05:39 AM   #3843
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Well, did anyone have a real doubt that high speed rails would have trouble finding passengers in China???
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Old April 10th, 2012, 06:48 AM   #3844
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Well, there was and is reasonable doubt whether the high-speed network would be profitable, a very different question from whether it would have passengers. What characterizes the Chinese system from e.g. the Japanese or the French is how extensive it is. Having many passengers on a short line is more profitable than having it on a long line (you can charge a higher premium for long distance, but the running costs and investments are so much higher). Thus the Chinese network today has a traffic density of 10 million passengers per km while the Tokyo-Osaka line has 85. While shorter distances, like a Pearl River network or Beijing-Tianjin, should be profitable, there are reasonable doubts about high-speed to Urumqi.

I found it interesting, though not surprising, that distances under 500 km were very competitive with air, falling down to not competitive over 1000 km, that the Beijing-Shanghai line has had little impact on air traffic between the cities. I would prefer travelling by train on this distance, but when the minimal travel time increased from four to five hours it ceased being competitive for business travel. If the travel time were decreased to three hours the competition should wither. That in mind I don't think the Urumqi line will be commercially viable, and would have to be seen as a political project.

Also interesting was the estimates of generated traffic, that up to half the traffic wasn't passengers changing from air, bus, or cars, but new traveling because of the available high-speed line.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 06:55 AM   #3845
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Well, did anyone have a real doubt that high speed rails would have trouble finding passengers in China???


I'm sorry, couldn't resist that. :P
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Old April 10th, 2012, 06:59 AM   #3846
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I'm sorry, couldn't resist that. :P
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Old April 10th, 2012, 08:43 AM   #3847
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It's worth considering that china is a VAST country and the private car allows many rural folk the ability to travel outside of their areas which would be impossible with public transport as it simply can not reach every village and hamlet
Japan is a smaller area, but also something like 2500 km long.

Rural folk may own private cars, but these are useless unless someone builds a public road passable for cars out of the village or hamlet.

How has Japan handled building roads on countryside? And how has Japan handled public transport vehicles in countryside?

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Car ownership as a percentage of population is meaningless - what you need to look at is the number of cars by unit area - you can't stack roads on top of each other to the same extent you can residential dwellings. In Chinese cities (strandeed we are talking about cities) even a 10% car ownership by population makes the area-based figure sky-high. Basically 10 car-owning homes in each 150-home apartment block in a Chinese city produces the same pressure on the roads as 100% household car ownership in an American suburb, which is too much already.
How does the number of cars per unit area in Tokyo compare? And how accessible is the last km by walking and public bus, trolleybus, streetcar, metro and railway stops?
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Old April 10th, 2012, 09:47 AM   #3848
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Anyone else find it highly ironic that a post about a new TRAIN station becomes sidetracked into a discussion about how the place with the new train station is condemned to be auto-centric?

What about the decontextualized comparison between London and what's being built today in China? Different era, different available materials, different construction technology, different climate, different rate of population increase. It's akin to comparing a 1957 Chevrolet with a Prius. It doesn't mean one is better than the other, it's just a bad comparison.

I'll give you one example: Talk about wide open areas being hostile to the environment. *You know who you are* In humid cooling climates, natural ventilation is needed. Because much of the urban planning theory is still Eurocentric, and Europe either has heating climates or the more benign Mediterreanean climate, these principles are often overlooked. Places like London can and should pack their buildings together, as it reduces the heating costs. Shanghai, and most of Eastern China have the opposite problem.

If you compare the older sections of TST in Hong Kong and newly built central Shenzhen, you can see the benefits of more open ground level areas. Even though they are only several kilometers apart and have the same climate, ambient streetside temperatures in central Shenzhen are generally lower than in central Hong Kong. You could argue that you'd want protection from the sun over lower ambient temperatures. Yet when it's really hot and humid, what's more tolerable; in the shade of the tightly packed buildings around, or being in a wide open area and feeling a breeze? That, and you could always carry a parasol, no one carries an air conditioner.

Then it's the whole autocentric thing. RRRRRRRRRRRRRRright. What a place LOOKS like matters very little. Example 1. Poundbury. That idiot Prince Charles and some sellout architects and their very shady PR people and developer cronies hold up historical aesthetics as the route to ensuring urbanity. Unfortunately empirical evidence tells us that Poundbury's residents end up leading the same lifestyles as other car-dependent suburbanites. Example 2. Singapore/Hong Kong. These places are full of Corbusian brutalist aesthetics and open spaces at ground level. Yet they also possess transit/density/building typology. You do realize the vast majority of Chinese cities are very similar to Singapore/Hong Kong in their planning?

Urban planners hold a lot of power in Chinese city development. Ironically many of their ideas were influenced by counterparts in Singapore/Hong Kong. Ironically, up until recent times, many Singapore/Hong Kong urban planners were from the UK, or went to school in the UK. And also more ironic, the UK new towns were never implemented to the planners' designs, often because of political infighting/vested interests/deindustrialization/and the wholesale shift to neoliberal economics.

Thus... let's refrain from using the idiot London comparison.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 10:32 AM   #3849
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Quote:
Originally Posted by particlez View Post
Anyone else find it highly ironic that a post about a new TRAIN station becomes sidetracked into a discussion about how the place with the new train station is condemned to be auto-centric?

What about the decontextualized comparison between London and what's being built today in China? Different era, different available materials, different construction technology, different climate, different rate of population increase. It's akin to comparing a 1957 Chevrolet with a Prius. It doesn't mean one is better than the other, it's just a bad comparison.

I'll give you one example: Talk about wide open areas being hostile to the environment. *You know who you are* In humid cooling climates, natural ventilation is needed. Because much of the urban planning theory is still Eurocentric, and Europe either has heating climates or the more benign Mediterreanean climate, these principles are often overlooked. Places like London can and should pack their buildings together, as it reduces the heating costs. Shanghai, and most of Eastern China have the opposite problem.

If you compare the older sections of TST in Hong Kong and newly built central Shenzhen, you can see the benefits of more open ground level areas. Even though they are only several kilometers apart and have the same climate, ambient streetside temperatures in central Shenzhen are generally lower than in central Hong Kong. You could argue that you'd want protection from the sun over lower ambient temperatures. Yet when it's really hot and humid, what's more tolerable; in the shade of the tightly packed buildings around, or being in a wide open area and feeling a breeze? That, and you could always carry a parasol, no one carries an air conditioner.

Then it's the whole autocentric thing. RRRRRRRRRRRRRRright. What a place LOOKS like matters very little. Example 1. Poundbury. That idiot Prince Charles and some sellout architects and their very shady PR people and developer cronies hold up historical aesthetics as the route to ensuring urbanity. Unfortunately empirical evidence tells us that Poundbury's residents end up leading the same lifestyles as other car-dependent suburbanites. Example 2. Singapore/Hong Kong. These places are full of Corbusian brutalist aesthetics and open spaces at ground level. Yet they also possess transit/density/building typology. You do realize the vast majority of Chinese cities are very similar to Singapore/Hong Kong in their planning?

Urban planners hold a lot of power in Chinese city development. Ironically many of their ideas were influenced by counterparts in Singapore/Hong Kong. Ironically, up until recent times, many Singapore/Hong Kong urban planners were from the UK, or went to school in the UK. And also more ironic, the UK new towns were never implemented to the planners' designs, often because of political infighting/vested interests/deindustrialization/and the wholesale shift to neoliberal economics.

Thus... let's refrain from using the idiot London comparison.

Period.

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Old April 10th, 2012, 11:05 AM   #3850
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Example 2. Singapore/Hong Kong. These places are full of Corbusian brutalist aesthetics and open spaces at ground level. Yet they also possess transit/density/building typology. You do realize the vast majority of Chinese cities are very similar to Singapore/Hong Kong in their planning?

Urban planners hold a lot of power in Chinese city development. Ironically many of their ideas were influenced by counterparts in Singapore/Hong Kong. Ironically, up until recent times, many Singapore/Hong Kong urban planners were from the UK, or went to school in the UK.
Of course, a problem is that neither Singapore nor Hong Kong relies heavily on long distance trains.

They both do have train connection and stations. Singapore with Johore and Malaya, Hong Kong with Canton. However, both lines are cut across with border checkpoints - neither Singapore nor Hong Kong is dealing with massive commuter flows to Johore, Kuala Lumpur, Shenzhen or Guangzhou.

Singapore and Hong Kong give good examples of how to plan public transport, pedestrian access and housing. What is missing is the experience of fitting a major rail station into public and pedestrian transport networks.

Taiwan, South Korea and Japan do have the experience of fitting rail into cities. But much of the experience of the rebels of Taiwan was with low speed (under 130 km/h) narrow gauge railways. The THSR was only opened in 2007. Ditto with South Korea - KTX was opened in 2004.

It is only Japan who has had high speed railways for 47 years. What should Chinese learn?
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Old April 10th, 2012, 11:30 AM   #3851
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Well, there was and is reasonable doubt whether the high-speed network would be profitable, a very different question from whether it would have passengers. What characterizes the Chinese system from e.g. the Japanese or the French is how extensive it is. Having many passengers on a short line is more profitable than having it on a long line (you can charge a higher premium for long distance, but the running costs and investments are so much higher). Thus the Chinese network today has a traffic density of 10 million passengers per km while the Tokyo-Osaka line has 85. While shorter distances, like a Pearl River network or Beijing-Tianjin, should be profitable, there are reasonable doubts about high-speed to Urumqi.

I found it interesting, though not surprising, that distances under 500 km were very competitive with air, falling down to not competitive over 1000 km, that the Beijing-Shanghai line has had little impact on air traffic between the cities. I would prefer travelling by train on this distance, but when the minimal travel time increased from four to five hours it ceased being competitive for business travel. If the travel time were decreased to three hours the competition should wither. That in mind I don't think the Urumqi line will be commercially viable, and would have to be seen as a political project.

Also interesting was the estimates of generated traffic, that up to half the traffic wasn't passengers changing from air, bus, or cars, but new traveling because of the available high-speed line.
I agree with what you are saying about profitability and travel time. I think the Urumqi-Lanzhou HSR (Urumqi-Lanzhou Railway Second Twin Line) is built primary to relieve the original Urumqi-Lanzhou railway from passenger traffic, so that line can be used heavily by freight, thus increase profit from cargo services. If they are gonna built a PDL anyway, why not a HSR. I don't think the MOR expect to turn a profit on it anytime soon. On the other hand the line goes through many uninhabited areas in a straight line with very few stops, so construction cost is somewhat lower than lines such as Beijing-Shanghai HSR. Speaking of which, the airline industry only retained their competitiveness after heavily discounted prices, improved schedule, and required compensation for delays. The fact that the speed reduction increased the HSR ride from 4 to 5 hours didn't help neither. I think in the near future when speed is restored to 380km/h the line can be very competitive due to the simple fact that business travels can have uninterrupted cellphone access while on the train. I expect the generated ridership to grow even larger as more lines are completed, the network affect on HSR is significant as it opens routes previously only feasible (time wise) via air travel. People are a lot more willing to travel to a different city when it's one hrs of HSR ride away instead of four, kinda like how the highway system in the US encouraged family road trips.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 12:05 PM   #3852
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Originally Posted by jax
What characterizes the Chinese system from e.g. the Japanese or the French is how extensive it is. Having many passengers on a short line is more profitable than having it on a long line (you can charge a higher premium for long distance, but the running costs and investments are so much higher). Thus the Chinese network today has a traffic density of 10 million passengers per km while the Tokyo-Osaka line has 85. While shorter distances, like a Pearl River network or Beijing-Tianjin, should be profitable, there are reasonable doubts about high-speed to Urumqi.
But Tokyo-Osaka line is the trunk of Japanese network. Besides, it is overloaded with no room for expansion except by building a parallel Maglev line.

Japan does have their branch and terminal Shinkansen lines, like Tohoku Shinkansen and its stretch to Aomori, Joetsu Shinkansen, Nagano Shinkansen and Kyushu Shinkansen. What is their minimum traffic density? And what is the traffic density that makes a high speed line worth building?

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I think the Urumqi-Lanzhou HSR (Urumqi-Lanzhou Railway Second Twin Line) is built primary to relieve the original Urumqi-Lanzhou railway from passenger traffic, so that line can be used heavily by freight, thus increase profit from cargo services. If they are gonna built a PDL anyway, why not a HSR. I don't think the MOR expect to turn a profit on it anytime soon. On the other hand the line goes through many uninhabited areas in a straight line with very few stops, so construction cost is somewhat lower than lines such as Beijing-Shanghai HSR.
They shouldn´t close passenger traffic, though. Precisely because the HSR stops are few and far between and in any case on a somewhat different alignment - small villages on the remote railway stops do still need passenger service.

However, the express trains on old railway can be diminished once the long distance travellers are in new line.
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Speaking of which, the airline industry only retained their competitiveness after heavily discounted prices, improved schedule, and required compensation for delays. The fact that the speed reduction increased the HSR ride from 4 to 5 hours didn't help neither. I think in the near future when speed is restored to 380km/h the line
After Wenzhou crash and the Second Slowdown Campaign, when the remaining 350 km/h lines (Beijing-Tianjin, Shanghai-Hangzhou) were slowed down, a safety review was promised by October 2011.

Has the safety review been completed?
What were the conclusions?
Particularly regarding safety or otherwise of operating at 350 km/h?
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Old April 10th, 2012, 06:59 PM   #3853
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They shouldn´t close passenger traffic, though. Precisely because the HSR stops are few and far between and in any case on a somewhat different alignment - small villages on the remote railway stops do still need passenger service.

However, the express trains on old railway can be diminished once the long distance travellers are in new line.
I don't think they will get rid of conventional service, just reduced frequency of slower trains. You are absolutely right about many smaller stations can only be accessed by the conventional trains, probably in the form of shorter distance regional services, or long distance sleeper trains such as Shanghai-Urumqi.

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After Wenzhou crash and the Second Slowdown Campaign, when the remaining 350 km/h lines (Beijing-Tianjin, Shanghai-Hangzhou) were slowed down, a safety review was promised by October 2011.

Has the safety review been completed?
What were the conclusions?
Particularly regarding safety or otherwise of operating at 350 km/h?
I don't think anything was published, but it's irrelevant to the operating speed because safety wasn't cited as a reason behind the speed reduction, at least not officially. MOR officially announced the speed reduction to conserve energy, reduce maintenance cost, and lower ticket prices. The slow down initiated before the 7.23 accident, and IIRC the promised safety review was just to find the exact cause of the accident, which was concluded and had nothing to do with speed.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 09:17 PM   #3854
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4 hours seems to be the watershed in terms of competitiveness against air. Routes like Shanghai to Beijing ought to be more competitive, and will be in the future if more direct trains are added, tickets become flexible and station entry procedures simplified. What isn't so easy to rectify is Hongqiao's location - a 30-minute commuter journey into town isn't that attractive.

There needs to be some sort of service rationalisation. Long distance trains should stop at as few stations as possible and there should be enough demand for hourly direct non-stop services between any two major cities. Secondary cities should be served by frequent connecting regional services. This is the way you minimise journey times and maximise flexibility.
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Old April 11th, 2012, 12:55 AM   #3855
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^ I agree, as the system become more mature, hopefully more intercity services will be added so a lot more trains can be freed up to provide direct service. Right now there are so many stops that people essentially treat the line as a intercity service. For example people traveling from Bengbu to Nanjing should ride a local train (still HSR on the same line) instead of a Beijing-Shanghai through train.
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Old April 11th, 2012, 01:40 AM   #3856
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The trouble between Nanjing and Tianjin is the lack of 4-tracking which might limit the potential to separate slow and fast services, so you might still have too many trains that try to do everything (and badly). Another possibility is serving the smaller settlements with a 2tph stopping service on the classic line, but there's the almost insurmountable challenge of providing connection between classic and HSR services that use different stations.
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Old April 11th, 2012, 09:44 AM   #3857
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I don't think they will get rid of conventional service, just reduced frequency of slower trains. You are absolutely right about many smaller stations can only be accessed by the conventional trains, probably in the form of shorter distance regional services, or long distance sleeper trains such as Shanghai-Urumqi.
Long distance sleeper trains which stop at odd hours of night only make infrequent stops anyway, in major stations (or technical stops). So these can be replaced with HSR. Whereas daytime (or morning-evening) trains with frequent stops cannot.

Express passenger trains travelling on slow speed lines at full speed like 120, 140, 160 or 200 km/h interfere with freight trains because these are slower and must stop altogether on sidings to let express trains pass. Whereas slow, frequently stopping passenger trains can keep the average speed of freight trains without needing to pass them - or themselves stop at stations while freight trains pass. What is the average speed of freight trains in China on cruise (i. e. passenger trains not in the way)?
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I don't think anything was published, but it's irrelevant to the operating speed because safety wasn't cited as a reason behind the speed reduction, at least not officially. MOR officially announced the speed reduction to conserve energy, reduce maintenance cost, and lower ticket prices. The slow down initiated before the 7.23 accident, and IIRC the promised safety review was just to find the exact cause of the accident, which was concluded and had nothing to do with speed.
The First Slowdown Campaign was indeed announced before Wenzhou crash, but it only afflicted 350 km/h lines, and exempted some of them (Beijing-Tianjin, Shanghai-Hangzhou). The Second Slowdown Campaign afflicted not only these exempt lines, but also slowed 250 km/h lines to 200 km/h (whic had operated since 2007 speedup of Qinhuangdao-Shenyang high speed railway) and 200 km/h lines to 160 km/h (which had operated since 1998 speedup of Guangzhou-Shenzhen line).
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4 hours seems to be the watershed in terms of competitiveness against air.
Really?
Express trains Guangzhou South-Wuhan take 3:40...3:42. Express trains Longhua-Wuhan take 4:11...4:13.

Has it been discovered this month that trains cannot compete with planes on Shenzhen-Wuhan line? How dense is the air traffic on Shenzhen-Wuhan?

Longest existing high speed railway in China is Beijing-Hangzhou. 1487 km via Shanghai.

There are no express trains on the line. The non-express trains take 6:19...6:40.

Who take 6 and a half hour of daytime time to travel Beijing-Hangzhou? How do the non-express direct trains on Beijing-Hangzhou compete with planes on the same line?

The length of the high speed railway Wuhan-Zhengzhou-Shijiazhuang is often mentioned (as 840 km). But does anyone know the length of Wuhan-Zhengzhou high speed railway?

When Wuhan-Zhengzhou high speed railway opens this July, what shall be the total length of the continuous 350 km/h line Longhua-Guangzhou-Wuhan-Zhengzhou-Xian?

What shall be the trip time in July of the fastest direct train Longhua-Guangzhou-Wuhan-Zhengzhou-Xian?

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The trouble between Nanjing and Tianjin is the lack of 4-tracking which might limit the potential to separate slow and fast services, so you might still have too many trains that try to do everything (and badly).
Tokaido Shinkansen is not 4 track either.
Tokaido Shinkansen does mix fast Nozomi and slow Kodama services. However, Kodama trains accelerate to the same top speed between stations, unlike D trains which try to mix 250 km/h top speed with 300 km/h G trains.
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Old April 11th, 2012, 01:19 PM   #3858
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Tokaido Shinkansen is not 4 track either.
Tokaido Shinkansen does mix fast Nozomi and slow Kodama services. However, Kodama trains accelerate to the same top speed between stations, unlike D trains which try to mix 250 km/h top speed with 300 km/h G trains.
Beijing Shanghai HSR is a lot longer, so service patterns are necessarily more complex and passengers are more sensitive to journey times. Besides would you really trust them to run a complex schedule on a saturated line after 7.23? Don't forget even the Tokaido is having a parallel maglev line built to increase capacity.
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Old April 11th, 2012, 01:58 PM   #3859
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Beijing Shanghai HSR is a lot longer, so service patterns are necessarily more complex and passengers are more sensitive to journey times. Besides would you really trust them to run a complex schedule on a saturated line after 7.23?
If they have trouble running a complex schedule, could they make the schedule a bit less complex just so as to make it easier to run?
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Old April 11th, 2012, 02:10 PM   #3860
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If they have trouble running a complex schedule, could they make the schedule a bit less complex just so as to make it easier to run?
Then you return to the situation of only a few trains per hour, and all trying to do everything badly.
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