China Embraces High Speed Rail and Filial Piety


8 hours at an average of 186mph. That’s about the distance of Seattle -> SF -> LA -> San Diego, then turning left and heading to Phoenix. In 8 hours. On a train. Oh, and that average speed includes stopping at 35 cities.

"Tear through the countryside" is right - the government didn't have to observe no stinking rights or regulations tossing the track down. Helluva train line though. It will have the effect of further isolating the towns along the route where the trains used to stop, hastening the townspeople's flight to the cities. That will ultimately dampen China's population growth and natural resource drain, which for all of us is a very good thing indeed.

In other China news, the government is now requiring its citizens to register for the internet using their full legal names, even just to leave pointless blog comments.

(Signed, Gloomy "this is the only real name of mine you need to know" Gus)
asian parents. damn.
If only we had some pride. While the Chinese are building infrastructure we are unable even to deal with mudslides on a century old freight track. Their national conversation is about how to connect far flung centers of industry while ours is about whether the U.N. is going to take away hillbilly's guns.
If the US enacted something similar (re filial duties) that would be like a massive jobs program for lawyers. Stimulus!
Wow...12 hours!!

Meanwhile in January, I'm taking a Boeing 737 from Seattle to Puerto Villarta. Four hours.

But that's progress for ya!!
@6 It's 8 hrs, not 12. And your 4 hour trip has to add hours at the airport, getting to the airport, then getting to your destination.

This line is a bit past the edge of how far you can go in a bullet train and save time. But the capacity's huge compared to an airplane, and China has a whole lot of travellers.

I live in Kent. It takes me 10 minutes to drive to Doug Fox Parking. It would take me 30 minutes to get to King Street station and hundreds in parking.
@8 If we wanted to further the car-dependent lifestyle you enjoy it would be trivial to add a train station in the middle of nowhere surrounded by parking as well.
Takes less 2 1/2 hrs by plane.... and is a hell of a lot safer.
Another way of looking at it: it's 1,400 miles from San Diego to Vancouver, BC. I believe you can make the trip on Amtrak, but it will take you more than 'the best part of 24 hours.' Like @1, I'm jealous.
"Their national conversation"

That's so cute. I've never heard a dictatorship described as a 'conversation'. You don't travel much do you?
The law forcing Chinese people to visit the parents was necessary because an hour after they see you they are hungry for more.
@11 why would u spend 8 hrs in a train when you could fly there in 2 1/2 hrs? Or should we just build these things because it's fun, screw our national finances?
Built with zero regard to safety, environment, or well-being of the communities through which it traverses. Plus, if you die in a derailing, the government will attempt to cover up your fate! Sounds magical.
@9 & @8 There's an Amtrak station in Tukwila, which borders Kent.
Considering China's traditional laissez-faire/graft-oriented regulation system, I wonder if we'll see a premature aging curve on their rail infrastructure like we have on some of their buildings (read: schools). Still, a 1400 mile long HSR line is impressive.
@2 It's not like local and non-HSR express trains are going to stop running. HSR lines in China are mostly prestige projects and mostly used by the upper-middle class (Chinese 1%). Almost everyone else will keep using the cheaper and more numerous local / express lines.
@14 - Would you fly rather than take such a train to get from Seattle to Portland? You'd spend more time boarding, waiting for your turn to depart the tarmac, and deplaning than the 55 minutes this train would take. And then there's the TSA, traveling from the remote airport to downtown, etc.

The point isn't traveling the whole extent (which agreed would be a stupid choice over a plane), but rather to connect cities along the chain. For commuters, it allows greater flexibility on where they work vs. where they live.

With such a train, you could live in Tacoma and work in downtown Seattle, and you'd have a shorter commute (11 minutes!) than someone driving from Ballard.
@19 if you take a train to Portland you can bring back lots of tasty beer. Can't do that as easily on a plane.