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Old February 27th, 2013, 03:02 AM   #5181
dao123
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The Ministry of Railways of China is going to go through major reforms, a decision yet to be made by the People's Assembly.
news in Chinese:http://news.qq.com/a/20130227/000018.htm
No English report yet.

If the plan is approved, the railway system will be run by a corporation. Private capitals will be introduced into the system. I see lots of people are saying that ticket prices, which have been stable for the past 10 years, will shoot up. People who cannot afford or are not willing to pay for the high-priced high-speed trains, will suffer.

Anyone talking about this?

Last edited by dao123; February 27th, 2013 at 05:23 PM.
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Old February 27th, 2013, 05:24 PM   #5182
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dao123 View Post
The Ministry of Railways of China is going to go through major reforms, a decision yet to be made by the People's Assembly.
news in Chinese:http://news.qq.com/a/20130227/000018.htm
No English report yet.

If the plan is approved, the railway system will be run by a corporation. Private capitals will be introduced into the system. I see lots of people are saying that ticket prices, which have been stable for the past 10 years, will shoot up. People who cannot afford or are not willing to pay for the high-priced high-speed trains, will suffer.

Anyone talking about this?
That sounds like huge news, how has it not been reported elsewhere?
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Old February 27th, 2013, 05:46 PM   #5183
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Perhaps, but that also means that in the long run this company will have the funds to make more investments in new tracks.

It may also mean that the competition with the airlines may rise.

And finally it may mean that the government can focus their attention elsewhere.

So I wouldn't jump to any conclusion just yet.
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Old February 27th, 2013, 06:04 PM   #5184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sopomon View Post
That sounds like huge news, how has it not been reported elsewhere?
Hi, this is widely covered in Chinese media. I couldn't find any English report yet. I really tried.

@Bannor
I agree that we shouldn't jump to any conclusion too quickly. I just wish the policy makers will not get lead by money only.
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Old February 27th, 2013, 10:12 PM   #5185
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dao123 View Post
The Ministry of Railways of China is going to go through major reforms, a decision yet to be made by the People's Assembly.
news in Chinese:http://news.qq.com/a/20130227/000018.htm
No English report yet.

If the plan is approved, the railway system will be run by a corporation. Private capitals will be introduced into the system. I see lots of people are saying that ticket prices, which have been stable for the past 10 years, will shoot up. People who cannot afford or are not willing to pay for the high-priced high-speed trains, will suffer.

Anyone talking about this?
Incidentally there is news about the new fares structure in Spain for its HSR journeys (news article at Railway Gazette here). According to the article the new market-based fares structure actually makes tickets cheaper (at least for the standard 2nd class seats). The key to the new system is flexibility of the price depending on conditions such as demand and how long in advance the ticket is booked. A bit like low-cost airlines operate (perhaps not to such extreme extent though). It's nothing new in Europe as many other operators are using rather flexible ticketing options.

This basically means that if you book your journey long in advance you'll pay less, cheaper tickets if booked for more than one person, etc.

As far as I understand the fares structure in China remains rather unflexible i.e. it won't make much difference if booked longer in advance or if booked for larger number of people, etc. Train occupancy rates are rather high on some lines which mitigates the need of taking any urgent action in a short term but in a longer term as the HSR network will be complete they will certainly have to introduce some new ticketing options and more flexibility to utilize the network to the fullest and achieve optimal position. It may well be cheaper for those who are able to plan their time and are conscious about their spending.

I certainly wouldn't be worried about that because even now China has a very well developed world-class transport infrastructure (expressways, airports, railways) which means there will always be alternative options with lots of capacity which will ensure healthy competition. In other words China will be able to avoid what is known as 'suppressed demand' which is a problem in some countries (e.g. UK) where prices of tickets go up simply because there are no alternatives due to lack of capacity which does not satisfy the demand whereas the government is not investing into new infrastructure and instead chooses to increase prices for the use of existing infrastructure no matter how crap it is.

Last edited by Pansori; February 27th, 2013 at 10:26 PM.
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Old February 28th, 2013, 05:25 AM   #5186
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Well, in China, you can't book tickets too far in advance as well. For the major crush periods such as Chinese New Year, there are even more restrictions on the advance sale period since demand far exceeds supply. The backbone for intercity transport needs to be rail, whether it is slow rail or CRH. Competition is nice in theory, but when hundreds of millions are on the move, is it feasible to clog the highways with competing buses?
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Old February 28th, 2013, 02:07 PM   #5187
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Well, in China, you can't book tickets too far in advance as well. For the major crush periods such as Chinese New Year, there are even more restrictions on the advance sale period since demand far exceeds supply. The backbone for intercity transport needs to be rail, whether it is slow rail or CRH. Competition is nice in theory, but when hundreds of millions are on the move, is it feasible to clog the highways with competing buses?
What are you trying to say? A more flexible fare structure would not change the supply of seats. It would stay the same. Only it would be more convenient and probably allow people to plan and book earlier. In any case some exceptions or safeguards may be used for the New Year travel rush so it would by no means be a problem.

In either case the current fare structure of China's railways is outdated and will have to be changed.
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Old February 28th, 2013, 05:05 PM   #5188
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pansori View Post
What are you trying to say? A more flexible fare structure would not change the supply of seats. It would stay the same. Only it would be more convenient and probably allow people to plan and book earlier. In any case some exceptions or safeguards may be used for the New Year travel rush so it would by no means be a problem.

In either case the current fare structure of China's railways is outdated and will have to be changed.
The problem is not about filling up seats by selling early at a discount. The problem is capacity. This is most evident during the holiday rushes, but even during normal times, the network is not exactly running empty trains.

Hence, the incentive to buy early and save is not there. Train fares outside the CRH service are dirt cheap. A big problem facing the rail network is scalping, hence advance ticketing is being frowned upon.
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Old February 28th, 2013, 06:23 PM   #5189
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post

The problem is not about filling up seats by selling early at a discount. The problem is capacity. This is most evident during the holiday rushes, but even during normal times, the network is not exactly running empty trains.

Hence, the incentive to buy early and save is not there. Train fares outside the CRH service are dirt cheap. A big problem facing the rail network is scalping, hence advance ticketing is being frowned upon.
But capacity won't change. If anything it will increase. Firstly there is still lots of spare capacity on the HSR network. Secondly some routes are less occupied than others. Flexible fare system would simply make things more efficient and fill gaps where they occur. If course that mainly applies to CRH services. Slow services might be left as they are as long as they're cheap and filled to capacity.
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Old February 28th, 2013, 08:11 PM   #5190
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pansori View Post
But capacity won't change. If anything it will increase. Firstly there is still lots of spare capacity on the HSR network. Secondly some routes are less occupied than others. Flexible fare system would simply make things more efficient and fill gaps where they occur. If course that mainly applies to CRH services. Slow services might be left as they are as long as they're cheap and filled to capacity.
I'm talking about the masses that take the regular trains. CRH passengers are the middle classes and above, who also have the option to fly. Flying is affordable to them. Even the CRH seats fill up so the railway authority has little incentive to give discounts by opening up advance ticketing.

For the regular network, filling up the trains is even less of a problem. Optimizing the network is more for scheduling than revenue management. In fact, the poor masses have accused the railway authorities of cutting back the slow trains to force a higher fare on an expensive D or G train. Opening up advance sales is even less of a concern for them. The railway authorities are worried about scalpers buying too many tickets and reselling them to the vulnerable poor, rather than trying to fill up seats way in advance.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 09:58 AM   #5191
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Nantong-Shanghai railway construction is kicked off today.
It involves a major cable stayed, railway/roadway bridge with 1094 meter main span. When completed in 5 years, it will
serve as the key middle section of the eastern sea board railway. Here is the link: http://www.zgnt.net/content/2013-03/...nt_2165419.htm

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Old March 1st, 2013, 08:35 PM   #5192
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Is this going to be a 350km/h designed high speed rail line? Also which station in Shanghai will it start from?
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Old March 2nd, 2013, 05:10 AM   #5193
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it'll be a 200km/h rail, connecting to Shanghai South Station.

Nantong-Shanghai Railway:

It's part of east coastal railway.

Length: 137.28km, 9 stations
Design speed: 200km/h
Cost: 36.1 bln yuan ($6 bln)
Construction duration: 5.5.years

A large railway/highway suspension bridge (main span 1092m) will be built across the Yangtze River.




link

Last edited by big-dog; March 2nd, 2013 at 05:19 AM.
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Old March 4th, 2013, 09:11 AM   #5194
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bannor View Post
Perhaps, but that also means that in the long run this company will have the funds to make more investments in new tracks.

It may also mean that the competition with the airlines may rise.

And finally it may mean that the government can focus their attention elsewhere.

So I wouldn't jump to any conclusion just yet.
My expectation is this is similar to Ministry of Electricity and Industry's (国家电力工业部) transition to State Electric Power Corp. (国电公司). in 1998. (Which was further divided into various generation and grid operators in 2002. Including the notorious State Grid Corp.) Did it cause revolutionary changes in the electricity sector in China? Not really, however, it did transition previous illegal activity of corruption into legal activity of compensation....

For the Ministry of Rail, probably the same thing will happen... For better or for worse.

Last edited by luhai; March 4th, 2013 at 09:17 AM.
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Old March 4th, 2013, 06:23 PM   #5195
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luhai: you are probably right.

WHen it comes to full trains on the CHR network it is just a matter of time before supply catches up with demand as you can still add alot more trains on certain stretches, and in some locations they have several almost paralel lines (like guangzhou-shenzhen).

Just pure economics tells you that come supply at a higher level, you have to introduce different ticket prices. And not just standard/luxury etc. Membership cards, monthly cards, preorders, etc etc where you get a discount will also come where they are not available today.

Prudence dictates that economics will in the end rule over cultural norms when it comes to this.
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Old March 4th, 2013, 06:58 PM   #5196
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Here is a report from Reuters:

Quote:
"Part of the Ministry of Railways will be merged with a super-Ministry of Transport," said a second source who has leadership ties, requesting anonymity to avoid repercussions for speaking to foreign reporters. The source was referring to the operations of the railways.

A state-owned enterprise will absorb the ministry's commercial arm, which has responsibility for passenger ticketing and freight operations, the sources added....

The 21st Century Business Herald newspaper reported the ministry will likely be split. A "Railways Bureau" would oversee operations and personnel, while the lucrative freight business and passenger transport would be incorporated into state-owned enterprises overseen by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, or SASAC.
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Old March 4th, 2013, 10:01 PM   #5197
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big-dog View Post
it'll be a 200km/h rail, connecting to Shanghai South Station.

Nantong-Shanghai Railway:

It's part of east coastal railway.

Length: 137.28km, 9 stations
Design speed: 200km/h
Cost: 36.1 bln yuan ($6 bln)
Construction duration: 5.5.years

A large railway/highway suspension bridge (main span 1092m) will be built across the Yangtze River.




link
That's really cool. I love how most new railway developments are designed for at least 200km/h.
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Old March 5th, 2013, 07:08 AM   #5198
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FM 2258 View Post
That's really cool. I love how most new railway developments are designed for at least 200km/h.
In due time, 200km/h is the starndard speed for passenger service. In some areas, it already is. I notice when I was traveling in China, I look for D/G trains. (Though for long trips, I prefer T/Z overnight sleeper. Never will take K train again, due to a horrible bed bug experience I had) If there isn't one, I'm bummed. (Happened once, had to take K-train hard seat from Wutang to Wuhan.
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Old March 6th, 2013, 01:24 AM   #5199
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Does that mean that they will be able to bump up the speed at a later date when that speed restriction on these other lines are lifted?

Or is it dead set at 200km/h? Or is it no need due to the line having so many stations that it won't have time to speed up more in between?
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Old March 6th, 2013, 12:38 PM   #5200
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bannor View Post
Does that mean that they will be able to bump up the speed at a later date when that speed restriction on these other lines are lifted?

Or is it dead set at 200km/h? Or is it no need due to the line having so many stations that it won't have time to speed up more in between?
The vast majority of those new 200km/h lines are all capable of upgrading to 250km/h, all the basic infrastructure is there to support the higher speed (curve radius, etc). In this case the line is just a conventional railway that has mixed freight/passenger traffic, 200km/h is plenty because freight trains will be the bottleneck. I think 200km/h standard will be the norm for conventional railways in China, except in certain areas with difficult terrain.
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