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Old March 14th, 2010, 10:06 PM   #41
Gag Halfrunt
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Note that Wang Menshu gets quoted once again. All these plans for transcontinental high speed rail and a tunnel under the Taiwan Strait, etc, seem to be no more than his personal fantasies.
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Old March 14th, 2010, 10:19 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
I can't believe such a long high speed passenger rail would make sense economically. I also doubt it could be competitive against aviation.

As high capacity cargo line, this would make perfect sense however as the train is considerably faster than ships can ever be while the capacity is still impressive. Such a rail line would probably be a huge benefit for all regions along it with access to it.
This is true now, while we still have cheap fuel. That might change quite a
lot once we understand that oil becomes too rare to burn it stupidely in
turboreactors. Given the time it might take tu build such a link, it might
see the light just at the right time...

Now, to be honest, I don't believe in it. This is just one more fantasy that
a journalist thaught he might make a good paper with. For freight
transportation, however, this could be a different story. But there are
still a lot of difficulties to overcome, one of it being the difference of
gauge. If you build the link to the north, you travel through countries
that use the ex-ussr gauge; to the south, the indian gauge. The only
way to avoid that is to go through Afghanistan... And once build, to
win the race against shipping lines, one must ensure that trains won't
get stuck during two days at each border control, which is a challenge
in itself.
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Old March 14th, 2010, 10:33 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xoser_barcelona View Post
It's not about trains, it's about projecting power and regional geopolitics and side-tracking the Russians in that part of Central Asia. It is also about boosting the standing of the CP of China internally. The Name Orient Super Express is not Euro-centric but Anglo-centric, big difference there. The original trains went to the European Side of Istanbul, so never left the continent. If the Chinese want to pay for it and can get all the countries to cooperate, they should go for it. Nice piece of YUAN-diplomacy that would be.
Nee hoor, Jongen. Lo que pasa es que los Chinos querian pasar cada fin de semana en Salou o Sitges dentro 2 dias conectadose con la línea de Ferrocarrils Catalan según el plan.

Last edited by [email protected]; March 14th, 2010 at 11:23 PM.
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Old March 14th, 2010, 11:53 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldbough View Post
Sounds pretty neat, but is there a market for that? Who, besides railfans, would travel to Beijing in two days when a plane gets there much faster?

No market for that?

Man! Think again. The line would probably pass Mumbai if I were the planner, then you could tap into this booming market that redefines what is Economy Class:

"India -London Orient Express: Mumbai Calling..."


Last edited by [email protected]; March 15th, 2010 at 12:09 AM.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 01:06 AM   #45
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Oooo man, that picture is the definition insanity.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 01:30 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
This is true now, while we still have cheap fuel. That might change quite a
lot once we understand that oil becomes too rare to burn it stupidely in
turboreactors. Given the time it might take tu build such a link, it might
see the light just at the right time...

Now, to be honest, I don't believe in it. This is just one more fantasy that
a journalist thaught he might make a good paper with. For freight
transportation, however, this could be a different story. But there are
still a lot of difficulties to overcome, one of it being the difference of
gauge. If you build the link to the north, you travel through countries
that use the ex-ussr gauge; to the south, the indian gauge. The only
way to avoid that is to go through Afghanistan... And once build, to
win the race against shipping lines, one must ensure that trains won't
get stuck during two days at each border control, which is a challenge
in itself.
What separates the best entrepreneurs from the mediocre is that they replace the words "problems" and "difficulties" with "challenge" and find solutions. The Chinese and countries associated have no problems finding relatively cheap labour. If there is (political) will, there will be results. The Chinese are known for their great entrepreneurs and engineers, past and present.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 03:03 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldbough View Post
Sounds pretty neat, but is there a market for that? Who, besides railfans, would travel to Beijing in two days when a plane gets there much faster?
The train has the advantage it can run on nuclear power. Which might make a big difference towards the middle of this century.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 10:42 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkhui View Post
What separates the best entrepreneurs from the mediocre is that they replace the words "problems" and "difficulties" with "challenge" and find solutions. The Chinese and countries associated have no problems finding relatively cheap labour. If there is (political) will, there will be results. The Chinese are known for their great entrepreneurs and engineers, past and present.
What distinguishes best entrepreneurs first is the fact that they can make a
difference between projects with real potential and hot air. The project as
described here is flawed from the start. Not enough market to make a high
speed line profitable, and if it is for freight, high speed infrastructure is
useless.
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Old March 16th, 2010, 01:29 AM   #49
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It would be so awesome to ride on that line! Yes an airplane is way faster but you would see the landscape slowly change from western cities to asian cities. If it was cheap I would do it. To bad this won't happen anytime soon or at all.
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Old March 16th, 2010, 01:40 AM   #50
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My initial thought was that it is going to be awesome to have high-speed line connecting Europe with China. Then I realized that you'll eventually need a Russian visa to make that journey, and the thought of getting one just destroys any enthusiasm for the trip.
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Old March 16th, 2010, 02:20 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heywindup View Post
My initial thought was that it is going to be awesome to have high-speed line connecting Europe with China. Then I realized that you'll eventually need a Russian visa to make that journey, and the thought of getting one just destroys any enthusiasm for the trip.
Well, don't be discouraged yet. It's easy to imagine that special airport-like stations are built for this line, so that only passengers who want to get out of a train-station are considered to be crossing national boundaries and only they are controlled for passport. That way, if you stay in the train, or just linger at the train station during stops in Russia, you would not need a Russian visa
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Old March 16th, 2010, 04:11 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
What distinguishes best entrepreneurs first is the fact that they can make a
difference between projects with real potential and hot air. The project as
described here is flawed from the start. Not enough market to make a high
speed line profitable, and if it is for freight, high speed infrastructure is
useless.
Not true. Russia is considering HSR for its trans-Siberia rail, that is because of freight, not passengers.

Also, 10 hours is the flight from London to Beijing, unless you take a red eye flight that is basically a whole day down (and even taking a red eye flight can take a day away from you), so making the trip in two days isn't so bad. Things like price and services can sweeten up the deal making this trip competitive.

Also as someone pointed out a nuke power plant can run this network when oil costs too much, but it really goes beyond that, most forms of power generation can run this network, finding enough oil could be hard; finding ways to make electricity, not so hard.
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Old March 16th, 2010, 07:46 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
What distinguishes best entrepreneurs first is the fact that they can make a
difference between projects with real potential and hot air. The project as
described here is flawed from the start. Not enough market to make a high
speed line profitable, and if it is for freight, high speed infrastructure is
useless.
You are thinking in the short run, in status quo. It is important to think long-term. If you build now, labour is probably cheaper now than later. You must also take into account the non-economical factors (these are hard to estimate the total revenue, yes). We can also have positive externalities (econ.: positive consequences) that we don't know of yet. These are the immediate pros I can think of:

- HSR can open up markets in Central Asia and East Europe for China
- HSR can attract more investment Xinjiang, China
- HSR can improve relations with the countries involved, e.g India
- HSR can offer many jobs in many countries.
- HSR can make transporting goods from Asia to Europe cheaper and faster
- HSR is more environmentally friendly and gives greater independence from fossil fuel
- HSR will allow cheaper travel between countries in the long run.
- HSR can attract tourism in associated countries.

Yes, not everybody will travel from London-Beijing or Berlin-Beijing (I'd love to though), but what about tourists and travelers in countries between England and China, e.g Poland-Ukraine, Kazakhstan-Ukraine etc?

One day in 30 years, we might see Chinese and Indian tourists in Poland traveling with HSR, after having visited Kazakhstan, Ukraine etc on the way to Poland.

One day, Central Asia might have the same living standards as we do have today.

I read on an article where this professor Wang said that Visa regulations will probably be lifted in 10 years, so one should not dismiss the tourism market.
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Old March 17th, 2010, 12:53 AM   #54
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cross national, in this cross multi-national, infrastructure such as this require the type of political and economical stabilities that have never existed on this Earth and will probably not start to exist within the next two decades.

Not to mention the fact that the areas that it crosses is simply not dense enough to warrent the investment.


It's a wonderful idea, but it also is one that probably will not start to roll within the next thirty years.
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Old March 17th, 2010, 02:15 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
This is true now, while we still have cheap fuel. That might change quite a
lot once we understand that oil becomes too rare to burn it stupidely in
turboreactors. Given the time it might take tu build such a link, it might
see the light just at the right time...

Now, to be honest, I don't believe in it. This is just one more fantasy that
a journalist thaught he might make a good paper with. For freight
transportation, however, this could be a different story. But there are
still a lot of difficulties to overcome, one of it being the difference of
gauge. If you build the link to the north, you travel through countries
that use the ex-ussr gauge; to the south, the indian gauge. The only
way to avoid that is to go through Afghanistan... And once build, to
win the race against shipping lines, one must ensure that trains won't
get stuck during two days at each border control, which is a challenge
in itself.
I'd say any route is better than the one through Afghanistan. This country is terribly instable already for decades if not longer. Varying gauges are not an all too big problem as one could construct that rail link in one gauge, either European standard gauge or whatever they use in China. That would limit the need for switching the gauge dramatically. Connection hubs along the way would grant access to the track also along the way. Thats no problem Spain for example also has different gauges.

One could also create a special treaty framework, creating a corridor, where border controls are not necessary if the containers remain closed all along the way.

The Deutsche Bahn experiments with cargo trains from Europe to China on existing tracks, via Russia I think. It takes its time and the largest problem is probably to overcome incompatibilities changing trains etc. But it seems it is possible and i can be considerably faster than by ship.
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Old March 17th, 2010, 02:54 AM   #56
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I am sure this would bring more people to interact with other nationals
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Old March 17th, 2010, 08:50 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UD2 View Post


cross national, in this cross multi-national, infrastructure such as this require the type of political and economical stabilities that have never existed on this Earth and will probably not start to exist within the next two decades.

Not to mention the fact that the areas that it crosses is simply not dense enough to warrent the investment.


It's a wonderful idea, but it also is one that probably will not start to roll within the next thirty years.

If you told me 10 years ago that in 2010 China would have one of the worlds biggest and more advanced HSR networks in the world, I have have just laughed at you. Don't underestimate a strong government with strong internal public support, they will get shit done.
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Old March 17th, 2010, 08:55 AM   #58
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I think main rationale for this network is not connecting Europe to China but rather relatively closer countries to China, mostly neighboring countries. Since both China and neighboring countries are very large, network becomes immense and once you a network connecting Russia to China or India to China why not reach to Europe?
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Old March 17th, 2010, 09:33 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
Varying gauges are not an all too big problem as one could construct that rail link in one gauge, either European standard gauge or whatever they use in China. That would limit the need for switching the gauge dramatically.
Actually the gauge is not really a big problem. It would probably be best to build the line to whatever gauge other lines are in the area you pass through, so that you have some operational flexibility. You might want to have alternative routes available in case of an interuption, or offer connections to other places, not just Europe - China.
That would mean two breaks of gauge, once a the Chinese border, and once at the Polish (or wherever you enter the EU) border. With modern technology changing the gauge on an entire HST doesn't need to take more than 15 minutes.
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Old March 17th, 2010, 09:38 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by yommy View Post
If you told me 10 years ago that in 2010 China would have one of the worlds biggest and more advanced HSR networks in the world, I have have just laughed at you. Don't underestimate a strong government with strong internal public support, they will get shit done.
Indeed. And don't forget that when Europe and the US started building railroads in the 1830-ies it went at an amazing pace too.
The first railroads on the European continent were build in 1935. In the decades afterwards the networks expanded by about 7000km per year... China is catching up with the rest of the world, and it is no surprise that it is doing it at a terrific speed. As it catches up it will probably slow down a bit on the infrastructure front, as other things increasingly will become more important.
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