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High-speed rail developments in China

July 09, 2012
Author: Eve-Marie Morgo

Last month, China funded a $13B project, completing 1000km of new tracks. An impressive milestone for China, need to adapt to the global marketplace. However, China isn’t funding this project domestically; it’s funding a project entirely based on another country, neighbouring Kazakhstan. Today, we analyse the key facts of high-speed rail developments in China

China high-speed's project: the key facts

  • The project links major cities Astana and Almaty in Kazakhstan
  • New trains can travel at 350 km/h
  • Journey times reduced by more than 50%
  • The line is predicted to serve annually more than 5M passengers

The reasons behind the rail high-speed investment

There are a number of clear incentives behind China's action. China is currently increasing trade with Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan has also a solid infrastructure, that reveals a strong potential for developing high-speed and rail travel in Asia. China's President Hu discusses the main advantages he perceives from the investment;

“The act will push forward pragmatic cooperation and strengthen security collaboration. In addition, this will allow both countries to support each other on national interests”. Hu Jintao, China's President

High-speed rail benefits

There are many advantages of investing and creating a high-speed rail infrastructure:

  • High-speed rail offers long-term economic benefits, and many governments are investing in rail.
  • It is often more reliable than air: the severe winter conditions in Kazakhstan make airports to shut down when rail can run smoothly.
  • Important goods' trading or business travel is more efficient and simple in rail.
  • In the long term, the upkeep and running costs of rail are a lot lower than air

With rail deregulation and 350km/h high-speed trains, rail is now becoming progressively a viable long-distance transport choice for many different travellers' segments.

Will any other governments follow China's  invest in Rail for diplomatic purposes? This is yet to be seen. In the meantime, we have captured the great potential of rail travel in Asia Pacific in our whitepaper: Changing Tracks

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Five make-or-break factors to unlock rail travel in Asia Pacific


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