At 3:00 PM on Thursday, the first revenue train departed Shanghai on the much anticipated high-speed rail line to Beijing, connecting the political and business centers of the country. The line is expected to have a transformative impact on China's economy, population mobility, and over-crowded transportation system. Shanghai - Beijing is comparable to Chicago - New York.
Click here to see some pictures of the new Beijing-Shanghai train.
The new Beijing to Shanghai route will offer a mix of express and local trains totaling an expected 90 trains a day in each direction. The fastest trains make the trip in 4 hours 48 minutes. Imagine traveling from Chicago to New York City in that time! (It currently takes 5 hours to get from Chicago's Loop to Manhattan by air today, IF everything goes right at two delay-prone airports and on two very congested highsways.)
Below is an interesting comparison of the Beijing - Shanghai route and a hypothetical Chicago - New York high-speed route.
(***A note: We used the existing railroad mileage between Chicago and New York; a high-speed line would likely be much shorter.)
Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway stations serviced and their county-level city or district populations:
|Zaozhuang ||0.5 million|
|TOTAL=||51.5 million people|
| = along 818 miles|
(62,958 people per route-mile)
Midwest-Northeast (Chicago-New York + branches to Detroit and Washington DC) high-speed railway potential stations and their consolidated metropolitan area populations:
|Fort Wayne||0.6 million|
|Washington DC||5.4 million|
|New York||22.2 million|
|TOTAL =||60.4 million people|
| = along 1,075 miles|
(56,186 people per route-mile)
The strikingly similar population densities along the similar length routes makes one wonder: Why haven't we done this yet???
If you haven't already emailed your public officials to ask them to fund high-speed rail in the United States, you can ask them by clicking here!