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The new high-speed superpower

by DoDo Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:34:10 AM EST

China's mercantilist economic policy is paired with massive public investment in infrastructures. But, alongside programs for lots of new coal plants and mines, a giant highway system (with the result that most of the longest bridges in just about every category are now in China), oversized dams and new canal systems, and other programs often criticised for reproducing the West's past wasteful dirty industrialisation; there are also massive programs to expand wind power, mass transit – and railways.

Two coupled CRH3s cross the Xiangjiang River over a bridge near Hengyang, Hunan Province. Photo by Liuping She from dahe.cn

The young People's Republic of China started out with a scarce network that was colonial and war infrastructure in character. To improve on that, the PRC expanded the network continuously across difficult terrain. Then the massive economic growth from the eighties led to ever more ambitious schemes. The 2001–2005 five-year plan was already something without comparison: the new construction or upgrade (electrification, double-tracking, raised line speed) of eight north–south and eight east–west corridors, with more than 1,000 km of new lines added each year. (And most of this is really in place by now.) But that was still beans compared to the 2006–2010 plan: while the expansion of the conventional network, now with focus on western China, continued unabated, now a high-speed system exceeding all others in the world was to be built from scratch.

The programme was government priority and was flushed with stimulus money; and there was little bother with democratic and environmental issues like the expropriation of farmers, objections from local communities, drawn-out geological, impact and safety studies, or noise barriers; thus progress was rapid. By early February 2010, China Railway Highspeed (CRH) definitely became world's first in network length, number of ordered trains, top speed and travel speed.

A CRH2 above rice paddies near Beixiangzhen, Guangdong Province. Photo from Zhang Li-ming's blog


This diary concludes my status report on high-speed rail in the world (see Delays come to an end (EU HSR 2009) and The EU's emerging high-speed networkS).


The beginnings

China's high-speed ambitions began with the handover of Hong Kong to the PRC in 1997. The line from Guangzhou (Canton) to Shenzhen (at the border of Hong Kong) became very busy and was upgraded for 200 km/h. This is where the domestic industry could experiment with a series of prototypes and small series of fast electric multiple units (EMUs; see details in China wants 380 km/h trains).

Thus emerged the ambition to build a genuine high-speed line: one to connect the political capital and the de-facto commercial capital (and the original power base of then leader Jiang Zemin). The Beijing–Shanghai line already featured as one of the north–south corridors in the 2001–2005 plan, but its construction didn't start until two years ago: as it was to be the world's longest high-speed line at over 1,300 km, and was to face heavy competition from planes, the price tag is extreme and the choice of technology was critical. Decision-makers long vacillated between three options:

  1. wait for domestic development to reach world standard,
  2. import conventional high-speed rail from Europe or Japan,
  3. import maglev from Germany.

The first option proved a dead end. In 2003, China opened its first 'high-speed' line, the Qinhuangdao–Shenyang (QinShen) passenger railway (paralleling a busy section of the mainline to Manchuria), and two manufacturers' prototypes meant to reach 300 km/h were tested here. However, the faster one (DJJ2 "China Star", with TGV-style tractor heads, see here) began to transport passengers only in 2005 and only at 160 km/h, and due to breakdowns, was scrapped after just a year. The rival (DJF2 "Pioneer", with ICE3-style distributed traction) fared barely better (regular service: 2007–2009), but at least spawned two 180 km/h series units (DJF3 "Changbaishan"): all three carried passengers only 2007–2009.

The first of the distributed power EMUs, the 120 km/h KZD1, KZD2 "Chuncheng Hao"-s from 1999, still run around Kunming. Photo via blog at Baidu.com

The demonstration of the third option, the Shanghai Maglev (an airport link operated with a maximum speed of 430 km/h since 2004), showed up its problems: high price, local protests on a scale bothering even the Party, and a manufacturer wary of technology transfer.

That left the second option.


Technology transfer

In 2004, China Railways went shopping around the world. Instead of looking for the lowest bidder, all major manufacturers got an order.

  • CRH1A: 20+20 8-car sets for 200 km/h, from (Canadian but with Germany-centred rail branch) Bombardier's Regina family (developed mostly in and for Sweden)
    A CRH1 that just left Wuhan's first Yangtze river bridge will soon pass under Yellow Crane Tower on 14 November 2006. Rutland/Xinhua photo from sina.com
  • CRH2A: 60 8-car sets for 200 km/h, based on (Japan-based) Kawasaki's series E2-1000 Shinkansen (for JR East of Japan)
  • CRH3A/C: 60 8-car sets for 300 km/h, from (Germany-based) Siemens's Velaro family
  • CRH5A: 60 8-car sets for 200 km/h, from (France-based) Alstom's Pendolino family (made mostly in Italy by what was Fiat Ferroviaria)
    A CRH5 crosses the Yongding river at Yingshan Park, on the western outskirts of Beijing. Photo by pangdae from Flickr under Cc-by-nc-sa-2.0

But, the orders were on conditions unusual from a developing country (but not unusual for developed countries, see Globalisation catches up with rail industry?): the foreign suppliers had to team up with local manufacturers, transfer series production there, as well as much of the technology. Not all manufacturers were willing to offer their top-shelf products, but those who did, could hope for a share in more big orders.

The trains, many operated "overspeed" (I'll return to that), could first show what's in them with the 18 April 2007 timetable change, when thousands of kilometres of existing lines were approved for higher speeds, including 848 km for 250 km/h (half of this the QinShen line).

The launch of CRH was a success, and the hoped-for further giant orders came. The new batches usually involved some development, and a reduced foreign input. But all four families grew:

  • CRH1B: 20 16-car sets
  • CRH1C: 20 8-car sets for 380 km/h (more on this later), from the Zefiro platform
  • CRH1D: 60 16-car sets for 380 km/h, from the Zefiro platform
  • CRH1E: 20 16-car sets for 250 km/h, the world's first high-speed sleeper trains; these aren't Reginas but from Bombardier's previously unbuilt Zefiro high-speed concept
    A CRH1E in one of the giant new modern stations (Beijing South I believe). Photo from china215

  • CRH2B: 20 16-car sets
  • CRH2C 1st batch: 30 8-car sets for 300 km/h (with 6 rather than 4 cars powered)
  • CRH2C 2nd batch: 20 more with uprated motors & minor changes to the fronts
  • CRH2E: 20 16-car sets for 200 km/h, the second high-speed sleeper train
  • CRH2?: 140 more for 350 km/h, 100 of them 16-car sets, significant redesign including CRH3 tech
    A significantly modified front design tested for, but not adopted on the CRH2C 2nd batch. Photo from Hasea.com forums

  • CRH3C: 140 more
  • CRH3D: 100 16-car sets for 350 km/h

  • CRH5A: 30 more sets

Meanwhile, a high-speed network began to emerge, suitable for those higher speeds. This involved heavy technology imports, too: key parts like the most commonly used fixed (slab) tracks or the train control system came from Europe.


The PDL network

While the decision on the technology for the Beijing–Shanghai line was still up in the air, for the 2006–2010 five-year plan, China embedded it in a grander concept: a network of four north–south and four east–west corridors, altogether over 10,000 km of high-quality track.

For these lines, the terminology adopted wasn't high-speed line, but Passenger Dedicated Line (PDL). This had its reasons, but reasons soon overtaken by events.

The original concept was a high-speed network on the cheap: the entirety of half the corridors and sections of the others were to be for 200 km/h only. However, on one hand, for some of these lines, a mixed-traffic operation is more economical – making "passenger-dedicated" a vague promise for an uncertain future when a parallel freight line is built.

A 16-car CRH1B (Bombardier Regina) crosses the bridge over the Liujiang River (near its mouth near Linhai, Zhejiang Province; note the bridge-guard's house) on the Ningbo–Wenzhou PDL. The south coast railway was in the 2001–2005 plan of 8+8 corridors already, this 250 km/h mixed-traffic section is in service since 28 September 2009. Photo via SkyscraperCity

On the other hand, there were ever bolder plans for other lines. The very first line opened was key: Beijing–Tianjin.

This relatively short (113.5 km) section was prioritised for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Mere extra tracks for 200 km/h in the original plans, it became an almost completely elevated line on a separate alignment, with design line speed raised in steps to 350 km/h while construction was already on-going. (From the August 2008 opening, trains reportedly achieved then world record regular top speeds of 340 km/h. In its first year, the line carried 18.7 million passengers.)

A CRH3 (Siemens Velaro CN) on the elevated track of the then new Beijing–Tianjin high-speed line. Press photo from Siemens

Thereafter, planners not only dared to design further lines for higher speeds, but to design them with lots of superstructures. In particular, bridges and elevated sections. Construction companies became real pros in automated assembly of long bridges with prefabricated concrete spans.

Bridge construction on the Shijiazhuang-Taiyuan PDL (open for 250 km/h since 1 April 2009). Photo from Railway Gazette

There is a third effect of the Beijing–Tianjin line. It was decided at some point that the long-distance Beijing–Shanghai PDL shall have its own separate right-of-way. That made the first connection to Tianjin a high-speed "Intercity" line. Soon there were plans for similar high-speed or fast dedicated Intercity lines in a dozen conurbations.

Also in 2008, the global financial crisis hit. China's Keynesian response involved a massive increase of railway spending.

There is a paradox here: people talk of acceleration, even though practically all individual projects are suffering delays (even if on scales we'd dream of: say construction is planned for an insanely short 3 years but the line is completed in a still impressive 5 years). But the thing is that with the stimulus money, the number of lines constructed in parallel reached a sheer incredible level, unprecedented anywhere: by the end of 2009, almost the entire original 4+4 PDL network and much of the intercity projects was in the works. So were several additions to the national PDL network meant for regional development.

Sketch map of China's PDL network and other fast lines, adapted from Wikipedia's PDL network map (click to enlarge)

Line style indicates top speed:

  • Thick: 350 km/h
  • Medium thick: 250 km/h
  • Dashed medium thick: 200 km/h with some 250 km/h sections or overspeed planned
  • Thin: 200 km/h

Colors indicate progress:

  • Green: upgraded conventional line in service
  • Blue: new line in service
  • Red: in construction
  • Grey: planned

On 26 December 2009, service started on the first of the new lines for 350 km/h: Wuhan–Guangzhou (WuGuang) PDL. This line is a record holder in several respects:

  • with about half the line on bridges and another sixth in tunnels, the cost was 116.6 billion yuan (c. €12.5 billion), a record sum even at the much lower Chinese specific costs (just €12.5 million/km!);
  • with a line length of 968.4 km, this is the longest line built in one go (even if you subtract the last 46 km that was opened with a month's delay);
  • the line also showcases the longest non-stop high-speed service;
  • the travel speed (start-to-stop average) of these runs is currently a record 309 km/h;
  • of course made possible by record regular top speeds of 350 km/h.

Above: two coupled CRH2s cross the Beijiang River over a bridge near Shaoguan, Guangdong Province. Photo by Liu Pingshe from Raildoor.

Below: A 16-car CRH3 crosses the Xinjie River bridge (near Guangzhou North Station) on a December 2009 test run, with the skyline of Huadu. Photo from Tong Guo-Qiang's blog

Tickets cost four times that of conventional expresses, 13 pairs of which were discontinued – a common but customer-angering and IMO even economically ill-conceived policy (see "How (not) to get bad publicity" section of Puente AVE).

Another 350 km/h line, the 456.6 km Zhengzhou–Xi'an PDL, opened this past 6 February. The best travel speeds (Xiang–Luoyang non-stop) are above 300 km/h, too. Crossing weak ground (loess), this line is two-thirds bridges, including the world's longest (79,732 m – but one on the Beijing–Shanghai PDL will be twice as long).

A CRH2 races towards on-lookers near Sanmenxia, Henan Province, during testing of the ZhengXi PDL on 25 January 2010. Photo from www.TAGD.com.cn

With that last addition, the total length of lines for speeds at or above 250 km/h are somewhere between 3300 (my calculation) and 4000 km (including lines officially for 250 km/h but obviously operated at only 200 km/h), putting China well ahead of previous leader Japan.


Overspeed

You will have noticed some discrepancies regarding actual and nominal top speeds in the previous two sections. The reason is a rather lax attitude of Chinese rail authorities concerning speed raises.

On the basis of some trial runs, trains designed, thoroughly tested and approved for a certain top speed are simply authorised to go "overspeed". Practically all the CRH sets mentioned are approved for, and scheduled to reach, 50 km/h more than their nameplate top speed – and may exceed even that when the driver is in a hurry.

The same goes for lines: a speed raise for a section may be authorised for little more than being straight, without expensive upgrade in rails, catenary, signalling, grade separation, distance of tracks. Not to mention allowing trains with cross sections exceeding European ones to produce noise at 350 km/h atop elevated sections or through cities with sparse noise barriers.

A pair of CRH2s thunders across Xianning (south of Wuhan), on opening day 26 December 2009 on the WuGuang line. Photo by Du Huaju from Enorth.com.cn

There have been a number of breakdowns on the WuGuang line since opening, originating in both trains and infrastructure. However, those might have been birth pangs – I am more expecting problems from longer-term wear & tear. In particular issues with axles, yaw damper ports, bogie frames, wind-shields, motors. The signalling side of conducting the higher-frequency traffic on the future Beijing–Shanghai line will also be interesting.

It does appear though that, as I surmised in China wants 380 km/h trains, decision-makers are little troubled by the disadvantages in energy economics, noise emissions and ride comfort.


380 km/h

The Beijing–Shanghai PDL is 1,318 km long, and air traffic is well-developed. An acceptable travel time would be 4 hours – which would call for top speeds of 380 km/h.

One and a half years ago, I was rather sceptical about China's ambition to produce suitable trains by 2012, but, seeing how the 'overspeed' recklessness and train orders developed since, I am less certain. If wear & tear won't catch up with the WuGuang line in two years, then China Railways will go for it for sure.

While the CRH3 and the latest CRH2 version in service are already 'oversped' to 350 km/h, the next 240 resp. 140 ordered last year will have that speed as nominal speed – 'allowing' overspeeding to the desired 380 km/h. (For the CRH2, design improvements include increased motor power, better ride comfort, and CRH3-like stronger nose structure to resist the wind load; but from the little I read, attempts to improve aerodynamics with a modified nose shape were less successful.)

In addition, the latest batch of the CRH1 (Bombardier Zefiro) is aimed for 380 km/h as nominal speed. This is quite some ambition for a design existing only on the drawing board, but we'll see.

Zefiro 380 concept drawing from Bombardier

:: :: :: :: ::

Check the Train Blogging index page for a (hopefully) complete list of ET diaries and stories related to railways and trains.

Display:
Bonus bridge blogging: trains don't like elastic bridges and vice versa, so suspension and cable-stayed bridges are rare on high-speed lines. However, there are exceptions with reinforced bridge deck. The WuGuang line crosses the Yangtze River at Wuhan on the lower level of the Tianxingzhou Bridge, which at 504 m is currently the longest-span combined road-rail cable-stayed bridge in the world.

(See a larger version of the above photo, and several other photos of the bridge at SkyscraperCity.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 04:07:14 PM EST
One of the photos I used was retouched rather crudely by its author. I tried to do away with the edges, but still something is not there that should be there. Can you spot it?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 04:31:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well on the A CRH3 (Siemens Velaro CN) on the elevated track of the then new Beijing-Tianjin high-speed line. picture isnt there a vertical tower missing from just in front of the train? (Leaving the suspension gear hovering in midair)?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 04:45:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You've got it! And this is from a press release by giant multinational Siemens -- a crude job fully visible in their 300dpi version... But that was the best image for the purpose I could find.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:11:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:37:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As described in the diary, all key elements fo China's high-speed revolution were imported. However, I find the foreign input is often completely omitted in domestic PR, which for example declares that a train is completely domestic production, while in truth engines and bogies still come from Europe.

Such practice is common especially for what became the largest Chinese high-speed train family, the Japanese-origin CRH2. And what's when the Japanese origin is recognised? On some rail forum I read Google-translated, several users gloated how "we shame the Japanese Imperialists" with that future 350 (380) km/h version: it is faster than anything made in Japan. (Then again, it's not that Shinkansens don't go faster because they can't... they just have to mind noise issues, braking distances and energy economics more.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 04:42:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There long term game plan is to get their hands on the technology and become fully competitive with the US and Europe. I'd be willing to bet that they will succeed in the plan and it won't be all that long before they do.

There is probably an increasing possibility that there will be a growing alliance with the Japanese.

 

by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:10:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the nature and relative scales of the high-speed market, it's not even about the much-touted "being competitive" but being self-sufficient.

Though high-speed operation might have a few rough years in this decade, what this many high-speed lines mean is gaining unrivalled experience.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:35:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be nice if the level of rail construction activity in the EU would be even just half of what it is in China -- corrected for population, at least Spain's is on a similar level. But, I am asking like last time, where does this leave the USA?

The $8 billion Obama gave to 13 projects last month is welcome good news, but won't cover the bulk of the cost of the just two high-speed projects included. So, anyone moaning that in high-speed rail it's the USA that's a developing country?

Well, the USA has a well-developed (and funded) anti-rail lobby that is shrill beyond anything we know in Europe (we got a taste from a commenter in Phoenix on the Delaware). And naturally, this lobby was fast with a preemptive strike.The week before the WuGuang line opened, as nanne quoted in the Salon:

China's Speeding Bullet-Train Program May Brake Economic Growth - Bloomberg.com

The line is part of China's 2 trillion yuan ($292.9 billion) investment in a nationwide high-speed passenger-rail network that may be too much train, too fast.

The time savings that the new system delivers may not justify the cost, creating a potential drag on long-term growth, said Michael Pettis, former head of emerging markets at Bear Stearns Cos. The losers are Chinese consumers, who will have to wait for new health-care and old-age benefits while the government focuses on public-works spending, he said.

While the expanded service will be a "trophy" for China, the country "already has probably the best infrastructure in the world for its level of development," said Pettis, now a finance professor at Peking University.

Someone can't get/really hates Keynesian deficit spending in downturns...

More anti-CRH ramblings from the USA covered by nanne again and marco more recently.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:06:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Someone can't get/really hates Keynesian deficit spending in downturns...

I guess it needs to get worse before it can get better. After all, the recession that started in August 1929 lasted 4 1/2 years until FDR was inaugurated. Whereas Obama was inaugurated barely 13 months into the recession that started in December 2007 and which still hasn't ended despite the stimulus.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:10:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It also went back to being a recession in 1937 when FDR took an economic turn to the right. Obama seems to be doing it even quicker.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:13:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, what will happen when a Republican wins in 2012?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:20:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
political asylum becomes an EU issue
by paving on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:24:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well at least the US and EU are talking about it.  AU just canceled the only significant rail investment this year with the end of the Sydney metro.  AU could easily justify HSR from Melbourne to Brisbane via Canberra and Sydney, and also Melbourne-Adelaide would be viable at just 160km/hr (it currently averages about 60km/hr due to a longer route than the road and low priority).  We get excited when the government promises to add 5km of commuter line (at $530M).
by njh on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:48:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the end of the Sydney metro

Is that not more strongly related to the crisis of the NSW government? Looking at the other urban networks, Perth's had a solid development over the past two decades, and while Melbourne burned its fingers with (and still won't admit the failure of) privatisation, Victoria is investing in projects as big as the Regional Rail Link or Melbourne Metro. (It's still nowhere near Chinese scales, of course.)

AU could easily justify HSR from Melbourne to Brisbane via Canberra and Sydney

Yeah, Australia could have been a Pacific Rim high-speed pioneer, but a certain past PM with Thatcherite positions killed the Sydney-Canberra Speedrail ten years ago -- no wonder Sydney-Melbourne is now the world's third busiest air link. And Kevin Rudd, though promising a rail reviwal in his election campaign and again a spending boost as stimulus, is not too ambitious. I read last month though that there is lobbying from the rail sector:

Political will needed to move high speed rail forward -- Rail Express

"The time has come when HS rail can move people very efficiently, fast and safely with a much lower greenhouse impact than aviation," ARA chief executive Bryan Nye told Rail Express.
"With that in mind, and also bearing in mind the potential route for Australia such as the Sydney-Melbourne corridor being the third busiest air corridor in the world, clearly it is time for Australia to look at HS rail again."
The figures speak for themselves, according to Brett Hughes of Australia's CRC for Rail Innovation, which is currently conducting research into the applicability of HS rail in Australia.
Based on European experience, the potential modal share for HS rail in Australia compared with air travel is estimated to be about 90 per cent Sydney-Canberra, about 70 per cent Melbourne-Canberra and more than 50 per cent Melbourne-Sydney, Hughes said.
The CRC's Dr Michael Charles detailed CRC's research in a presentation to AusRAIL PLUS delegates yesterday, stating that there is definitely "some sort" of political interest germinating around the issue.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:46:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not so sanguine: apart from the AS-Darwin railway there has been no major investment in rail in 80 years.  There are no votes in it, strong anti-lobbies and a spineless govt.
by njh on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:17:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AS-Darwin was long, but it's a low-speed single-track diesel line with few stations and no major superstructures: it was A$1.2 billion total. In contrast, the aforementioned Melbourne projects are A$4 and A$7 billion, Sydney's Chatswood-Epping line was A$2.3 billion. Then again, we are comparing urban and long-distance -- and indeed apart from the heavy-haul mine railways (like Fortescue's new A$930 million Pilbara line), there have only been bypasses and re-gauging (and seemingly endless debates about the Inland Railway).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:15:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by redstar on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:35:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was designed by a domestic architect.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:09:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As in cuisine and clothing design, the Chinese have some serious style...
by redstar on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:41:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a very graphic example of how Chinese industry and technology is rapidly moving up the feeding chain. It is not just all about tennis shoes anymore.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 04:27:52 PM EST
Christ... These are the guys that'll bury us!

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:11:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Richard Lyon: It is not just all about tennis shoes anymore.

Or iPhones and Playstations.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:10:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As i'm currently and continually involved in analyzing technical progress within the windpower industry in China, there are some very telling similarities with the story exposited in this excellent diary.  The overarching takeaway is never underestimate the ability of Chinese industry to forge ahead faster than anything we've ever seen before, coupled with the likelihood of huge O&M and replacement expenditure.  And even that will likely normalize faster.

Impressive, DoDo.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 04:56:55 PM EST
S'funny, but I just have this sense that European eyeballs are slowly rotating a full 180 in the direction of China. For me too, it comes up almost very day professionally.

Where you bin?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:05:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Though many Euro companies have long histories in China, so i'm not sure the eyeballing is that new.  The rules of the game are changing faster, and the details of technology transfer is a science changing too quickly for competent analysis.

Been in LaLaland, planning a China conference.  Skype?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:18:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
skyped.


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 06:46:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since you got a crack out of Chinese attempts to reverse-engingeer imported wind turbines, here is an outside and an inside picture of the domestically-produced DJF3 "Changbaishan" not-so-high-speed train:

This is a rather complete copy of the styling of the German Railways ICE3 (see the photos of its descendant the CRH3).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:21:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's my expectation that China will represent almost as great a challenge for Europe as it already does for the US.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:07:50 PM EST
A challenge of a different sort though. I think European culture, though mostly occidental in nature, as a whole is much closer to oriental culture than The Americas (plural). Asia has been leaking into Europe for centuries.

I think this is important in terms of negotiation of any kind - and the challenge that Europe faces is one of negotiation with China. The future has to be about negotiation, so we can get rid of war.

Negotiation is more than what you say or how you act. It's what you represent, what you bring to the table. Europe's century-old wrestling match between socialism and conservatism is of more interest in China.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:49:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But I am hijacking the thread - apologies.


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:49:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Playing for Stockholm syndrome?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:51:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ask Starvid...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 06:39:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That depends on whether Chinese plans are internal or external.

It would be unrealistic to assume that a country that clearly understands strategic investment - unlike the US - doesn't also understand strategic realpolitik.

The question is - what's the strategy? If China decides that growth is possible without the US, expect a massive dollar crash. It might be expedient to follow this with a buy-up - and the Chinese equivalent of off-shoring, cherry-picking US talent and using the rest of the impoverished US population as cheap labour while the Chinese population aspires to a more middle class lifestyle.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 06:50:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean, growth is possible without growth in the US market.

Not only does a dollar crash reduce competition by the US for natural resources from abroad, but it also would make the US more eager to export our own natural resources.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 08:56:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm thinking politically, not economically. So... currently the US is the primary export market for China, which is driving internal growth.

If the US continues into its death spiral, it will no longer be possible for China to rely on those exports. At some point a dollar dump becomes inevitable as a stop-loss measure. I think we're getting very close to that point.

In the medium term, I'd expect China to look at increasing sales to Europe, which might mean a repeat of the tactic of buying up Eurozone treasuries to lubricate that. I'd also expect to see some seed corn investment in undeveloped countries to push them in the direction of becoming markets for Chinese goods - a role the US has traditionally played, although it's usually been leveraged by aggressively piratical loan sharking of the target country.

Trade builds political allegiances, so I can see a soft-Chinese bloc of alliances spreading out across rest of world, with Europe as a permeable but culturally distinct trading affilate. Chinese influence is likely to be less shark-ish and may be less overt, but I'm not sure that it's likely to be any less - let's say - influential.

Currently the US maintains its alliances by direct military infuence, which includes an element of inclusive pseudo-soft power and imperial outreach (NATO) and harder forms of intervention (Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.)

If there's a dollar dump, military spending will have to be cut, so this influence will wane.

But... it can't wane without a fight. What's at stake in the US isn't actual influence, which the US is often quite bad at militarily, but a mythology of influence - a delusional self-image that sees the US as the source of all things great, good and powerful in the world.

The US is prepared to go to war against anyone and everyone if that mythology is threatened. So expect both internal and external messiness.

Exporting natural resources - which are what? - comes low on this list. The US is so hypnotised by its own reflected machismo that it barely has any pragmatic sense at all, and certainly lacks the strategic thinking needed to go head to head with China.

So I think - sadly - a US implosion is almost certain, and when the dust settles, the Chinese may not be humane enough to have a problem treating the US population as convenient factory fodder. Invasion isn't necessary - strategic M&A is quite enough to do the job.

The more interesting question is how much of a war happens first, and who's involved.

If there any natural resources left after this plays out, we can talk about them then.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 10:03:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I'd also expect to see some seed corn investment in undeveloped countries to push them in the direction of becoming markets for Chinese goods - a role the US has traditionally played, although it's usually been leveraged by aggressively piratical loan sharking of the target country."

China has been very actively pursuing this strategy for several years. The US has been so preoccupied with it's adventures in the Middle East that they have pretty much had a free hand in Latin America.  The former European colonial powers have similarly seen their influence in Africa decline. China is trading natural resources from the third world for cheap imports and running human rights interference at the UNSC.

by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 10:12:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US is only consistently the largest export market for China is the EU is disaggregated, but what is critical for the exchange rate question is not the size of the market, but the expectation of growth in the market.

The Chinese have a sufficiently large cost of production advantage that they can hold US market share in large numbers of markets at substantially higher RMB¥/US$ exchange rates.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 10:15:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exporting natural resources - which are what?
The US (+ canada) is most of a continent.  There are many interesting natural resources to be found there, ranging from copper to timber.
by njh on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 10:21:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the US and Canada have a substantially higher biocapacity per person than the world average. While at our standard of living we consume all of it ourselves and import more ... given the way that the corporations own the government quite close to lock, stock and barrel, that certainly could be changed in the face of a substantially more lucrative markets for US corporations for exports than for domestic consumption.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:38:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

currently the US is the primary export market for China, which is driving internal growth.

Europe has been a much larger market for China than the US for years.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:56:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the European Commission: Bilateral trade relations with China
Trade in goods
EU goods exports to China 2008: €78.4 billion
EU goods imports from China 2008: €247.6 billion
EU's imports from China are mainly industrial goods: machinery & transport equipment and miscellaneous manufactured articles. EU's exports to China are also concentrated on industrial products: machinery & transport equipment, miscellaneous manufactured goods and chemicals.

Trade in services
EU services exports to China 2008: €20.1 billion
EU services imports from China 2008: €14.4 billion

Foreign Direct Investment
EU inward investment to China 2008: €4.5 billion
China inward investment to EU 2008: €0.1 billion

Bilateral trade relations with the US
Trade in goods
EU good exports to the US in 2007: €260 billion
EU goods imports from the US in 2007: €180 billion

Trade in services
EU services exports to the US 2007: €139.0 billion
EU services exports from the US in 2007: €127.9 billion

Foreign Direct Investment
EU investment flows to the US in 2007: €112.6 billion
US investment flows to the EU in 2007: €144.5 billion

What are the figures for US/China trade?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:09:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some figures here.

Chinese imports from the US (2008): $72bn
Chines exports to the US: $337bn

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:22:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the Chinese exports to the EU are about the same as those to the US at the current EUR/USD exchange rate?
by Bernard on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:35:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... and Europe is a bigger market, a drop in the €/US$ exchange rate, and the US is a bigger market.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:40:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On top of that, Chinese trade with other emerging markets is supposedly bigger than exports to either the US or Europe.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:58:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking primarily of economic challenge. In that regard I think that western industrial societies are going to experience similar encroachment from emerging Asian economies. I do agree that culturally Europeans will be much less inclined than Americans to see it all as an ideological battle of good vs evil.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 05:53:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I live in California where there are a substantial number of Chinese Americans and other people of Asian descent. From here it doesn't seem like a particularly alien world, but that's not typical of most of the US.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Sun Feb 21st, 2010 at 06:05:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a great point to remember from Europe.  The US varies wildly in terms of cultural perceptions, tolerance, etc.  
by paving on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:35:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and always will be. What a waste of money, that could've been much MUCH better spent on (okay, far less sexy) urban rail and subways. What is it with boy politicians and high-speed rail? It's economic stupidity, as we all could've learned several decades ago from the Japanese experience.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:18:34 AM EST
You are aware Franch high-speed rail drove short-haul airlines out of business?

See also DoDo's diary on how Spain's Madrid-Barcelona line has eaten 50% of the market share of the Airlift even though it's more expensive to take the train than to fly.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:25:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I was living in Bruxelles, I watched the Paris-Bruxelles flights disappear overnight as the train went from 3 to 1 hours.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:33:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
gk: When I was living in Bruxelles, I watched the Paris-Bruxelles flights disappear overnight as the train went from 3 to 1 hours.

In 2002, as the Paris-to-Brussels route became faster, Air France SA dropped its five daily services between the two cities.

`Invincible' High-Speed Trains Steal China Southern's Customers | Bloomberg via BusinessWeek



The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:44:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by redstar on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:11:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
fairleft: It's economic stupidity

Then this here is a pretty stupid article:

China Southern Airlines Co., the nation's largest carrier, and Air China Ltd. are slashing prices to compete with the country's new high-speed trains in a battle that Europe's airlines have largely already ceded.

Competition from trains that can travel at 350 kilometers per hour (217 miles per hour) is forcing the carriers to cut prices as much as 80 percent at a time when they are already in a round of mergers to lower costs. Passengers choosing railways over airlines will also erode a market that Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS are banking on to provide about 13 percent of plane sales over the next 20 years.

"There's no doubt that high-speed rail will defeat airlines on all the routes of less than 800 kilometers," said Citigroup Inc. analyst Ally Ma. "The airlines must get themselves in shape, increase their profitability and improve the network."

<...>

"The high-speed train is invincible on this route," said Tom Lin, 30, a civil servant in Guangzhou, who opted to travel by rail. "There's no doubt it's more convenient for trips to the cities along the line. Airlines can't compete with trains for the spacious seats."

<...>

In Europe, when train routes have been cut to three hours or under by the introduction of high-speed lines, airlines have either seen their share slashed or quit flying the route altogether. In 2002, as the Paris-to-Brussels route became faster, Air France SA dropped its five daily services between the two cities. Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Germanwings quit the Paris to Stuttgart route after rail travel got faster.

`Invincible' High-Speed Trains Steal China Southern's Customers - BusinessWeek

fairleft: as we all could've learned several decades ago from the Japanese experience.

Could you elaborate regarding the Japanese experience?

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:38:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maglevs, I suppose?

The Germans also tried magnetic levitation bullet trains but the ICE conventional high-speed-rail works just fine.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:41:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes there really is no need to reinvent the wheel.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:46:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shouldn't that be "uninvent the wheel"?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 11:30:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ally Mia:
"The airlines must get themselves in shape, increase their profitability and improve the network."

I'd like to know how airlines are expected to do that, given their costs and physical limitations.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:44:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whatever they do, it looks like they're not going to go down without a fight:

China Southern Air to expand globally - China Economic Review

The new high speed rail links in China have their benefits in improved ease of travel. They also make it very difficult for the airlines to compete across distanced of less than, 10,000 km although that figure is still being debated. Therefore China Southern Airlines plans to boost its presence in international markets and increase flight frequencies in domestic markets to compete with high-speed railways.

<...>

The Guangzhou-based carrier's chairman, Si Xianmin, said, "International flights account for only 17% of our flight network, and we plan to increase that to 30% to explore international markets."

<...>

Shanghai Daily reported the carrier will increase flight frequencies on routes to forestall a loss of air passengers. A total of 38 of China Southern's 160 domestic routes face direct competition from bullet trains.



The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 11:02:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Distance from Beijing to Shanghai: 1,284 km.

"There's no doubt that high-speed rail will defeat airlines on all the routes of less than 800 kilometers," said Citigroup Inc. analyst Ally Ma.

Rail is VERY heavily subsidized. The actual cost is not comparable. Moderately high speed (why set the world record other than to show yours is faster/bigger than theirs?) rail networks are sensible for densely populated regions, and can be done with old fashioned inexpensive technology.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:36:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't wait for a high-speed rail link from Madrid to Paris. Distance: 1270 kilometres.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:43:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why? What's the big deal about getting there in 3-4 hours instead of 8 or 9? More importantly, how high a social priority should fulfilling that desire be, compared to other needs the money might be spent on? Here in Chicago, we haven't extended our 'subway' system in roughly 70 years, and there was a 15% cutback to all mass transit a few weeks ago because of tax revenue shortfalls.

Fun fantasy projects like super-high-speed rail are fine for prosperous times. Nope, that ain't now.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:57:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Madrid happens to have been busy with the biggest buildup of urban mass transit in the world, so it's not exactly either-or. Anyway, see here for DoDo's series on local rail of which this is a snippet
In Europe, Spain was most wise in using EU Structural Funds, and that with support from both political sides. Only Madrid and Barcelona had subways before the Civil War, not much happened under Franco's dictatorship. But today, half a dozen cities are busy boring tunnels, and Madrid's system quadrupled. For a developed Western country, Madrid should be the example to follow in how to build subways.

Metro Madrid added more than 40 km (25 mi) in a four-year period to 2003, and another 56 km (35 mi) heavy metro this year -- to a total of 283 km (176 mi) -- note that Madrid is a city of just 3.2 million. The showcase project of the previous four years was Line 12 (yellowish green on the map), nicknamed MetroSur. This ring line doesn't circle the city, but serves a couple of suburban towns by distributing traffic among radial subway and rapid transit lines.

Planning, tendering, boring, fitting out with concrete lining and tracks and electronics of this 40.5 km all-tunnel line; station construction; and purchase, testing and commissioning of subway trains was all done within four years and on a budget of only €1.1 billion! On time and budget in the extreme! Compare that to the time and cost earmarked for New York's 8.5-mile Second Avenue Subway project.

The idiocy of American transport and tax policies is a different issue. Direct your anger where it's needed, and once again when it comes to useful public investment, it shouldn't be either-or.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:07:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Madrid happens to have been busy with the biggest buildup of urban mass transit in the world

Really? Bigger than Shanghai with about one line a year?

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:14:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably not - LOL

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:16:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou have expanded faster than Madrid over the last three years, but Madrid was champ in its 2000-3 and probably still in its 2004-7 period.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:48:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How many times have to done Madrid-Paris by train? Don't tell me how I should like a service I use have used about once a year (return) for the last few years.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:08:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm telling you not what you're saying I'm telling you, but just to look at the big picture.

And should not applaud the export of warped U.S. transport spending priorities (high-speed rail is one of them) to China. China has a massive problem with urban transit overcrowding it could be spending money on:

According to Shanghai Daily, the recently completed metro line 8 is overloaded 30% at all times and 70 % overloaded during peak hours causing massive delays.

http://www.joop.in/Archive/shanghai-metro-getting-overcowded/

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:38:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like they're doing that as well:
Today, there are eleven metro lines (including the Shanghai Maglev Train), 221 stations and 367 km of tracks in operation, making it the longest network in Asia and the third-longest in the world. Daily ridership averaged 3.065 million in 2008 and set a record of 4.735 million on September 30, 2009.

The system is still growing, more new lines and extensions are under construction, and plans through 2020 project a system comprising 20 routes and 877 km length. The latest major addition came on December 31, 2009 when the east extension of Line 9 and Phase 1 of Line 11 opened for trial operation. Five more lines or line extensions will be in service before the opening of Expo 2010.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:46:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the export of warped U.S. transport spending priorities (high-speed rail is one of them)

What are you talking about? When has rail of any description been a US spending priority since they stopped building lines across the Rockies with Chinese labour?

Oh, and by the way, when I lived in SoCal I rode the Metrolink and the LA Metro and I still think there should be an LA-SF HSR link. In fact, having HSR coming out of Union Station would instantly increase ridership on the Metrolink which would remove a rhetorical hurdle to funding an expansion of Metrolink service.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 02:29:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Obama administration is a huge backer of high-speed inter-city rail, and has already committed tens of billions of dollars to it. Because of the way U.S. urban areas are set up, the economics are nonsensical except for the Northeast.

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/running-the-numbers-on-high-speed-trains/

But the worse thing is that high-speed trains (which have virtually no positive environmental impact) are being pushed while there is tremendous real need to repair and expand existing intra-urban transportation, where there is potentially a very large positive environmental impact of getting everyday commuters out of their cars.

Anyway, this has little to do with China and its obsession with high-speed rail.

More on U.S. high-speed rail here:

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2010/0128/Obama-s-high-speed-rail-plan-Which-states-get-the-mo ney

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 02:33:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because of the way U.S. urban areas are set up, the economics are nonsensical except for the Northeast.

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/running-the-numbers-on-high-speed-trains/

Debunked here on ET:


En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 02:44:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it didn't, the first one was a long effort not to directly address the economic numbers argument against a Dallas-Houston HSR. And the author of that article/argument against that particular corridor doesn't mean that argument applies to the Northeast  (but the politics of U.S. funding means you can't just fund HSR in the Northeast).

Again, it's fascinating to watch the unstinting and very male support among prog blogs for this minor aspect of the transportation equation? (Confession: I didn't build with mini-train sets when I was a kid.) Are you and BruceMcF sure it's obvious that all who think transit transportation money could be better spent are hack jobs? Just looking at the economics, it's not complicated: don't build one in Texas. Dallas and Houston could both use vastly expanded intraurban mass rail (probly light rail) transit.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:28:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a long effort not to directly address the economic numbers

Now you're handwaving.

minor aspect of the transportation equation?

Minor by what standards? It is a major aspect of the transportation equation in Europe and Japan...

all who think transit transportation money could be better spent are hack jobs?

The bulk buy into propaganda issued by hack jobs. (And you'd do well to research the background of those hack jobs. When you find back to the Reason Foudation...)

Dallas and Houston could both use vastly expanded intraurban mass rail (probly light rail) transit.

As well as high-speed rail between them. Your efforts to put one against the other is really strange.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:14:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rail is a major aspect of the transportation equation as far as I'm concerned. And this includes all its modalities.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:32:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... argument. Ryan Avent is another economist who writes on these things who demolished the multiple flaws of the economic numbers.

My argument in the piece that you dismiss is that even if you grant Glaeser's numbers, his conclusion does not hold. Rather, the conclusion would be to build an Emerging HSR rather than an Express HSR system.

Now, as Ryan Avent showed, his premises include assuming that road transport between Houston and Dallas faces no capacity constraints, which is a claim that many in that part of Texas would find surprising. And even if you accept his aggressively anti-rail assumptions, as I argued, it simply changes the type of "HSR" rail investment that would be supported.

And after all, of $8b allocated to "HSR", you are complaining about a total of $3.35b that was allocated to Express HSR systems. Of California's $2.25b, $400m is for the Caltrain train station in the basement of the TBT bus station, only $1.85b is for HSR infrastructure as such. The only other Express HSR system that received "HSR" funding was Florida.

Meanwhile, corridors reaching or working toward 110mph maximum speed systems were funded in Washington and Oregon; Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Detroit; Ohio; and North Carolina.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:57:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Obama administration is a huge backer of high-speed inter-city rail, and has already committed tens of billions of dollars to it.
If you think Obama's commitment to HSR is "huge" you lack ambition...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 02:45:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suggest that as a leftist, you should stop reading propaganda issued by right-wing anti-rail hacks paid by the highway lobby.

A note on the Obama plan: it is called "high-speed", though by European or Asian standards, most of it would count as conventional intercity rail. There is actually an upside to that: the USA needs to develop all modes of its severely underdeveloped public transport, so making the also necessary intercity rail sexier by calling it Regional or Emerging High-speed is a nice sales pitch.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:13:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here we go again. All who oppose HSR are 'right-wing propagandists'. Is that how to debate in a civilized society? It's clearly an open question whether HSR makes economic sense for the U.S. outside of the Northeast.

But, hey, let's not talk about the actual problems (and possible solutions), let's take up very hard positions and make this a red state blue state thing (on this blog ostensibly about reality-based and solution-oriented political conversation). We're talking about high-speed rail, basically transport for business people between major cities. How is devoting money to HSR rather than to urban mass transit a left-wing cause?

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:34:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And is claiming HSR is a male fetish a way to debate in a civilised society?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:31:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All who oppose HSR are 'right-wing propagandists'.

No, not all. Your specific sources are.

It's clearly an open question whether HSR makes economic sense for the U.S. outside of the Northeast.

No, it's not. If Spain can make it work for smaller cities, then it can work on several US relations.

let's not talk about the actual problems (and possible solutions)

Again, have you read my diary at all? Have you read my previous diaries while you were on ET? It's not like I don't chastise problems.

make this a red state blue state thing

Please. I am not American, and couldn't care less about red state blue state. I do care about rail, though.

high-speed rail, basically transport for business people

No, in Europe and Japan it's not, even if the share of business people can be high (especially with bad ticketing policies), like on airlines. You are inadvertedly channelling propaganda again. (BTW, on a related subject: though budget airlines have been advertised as the democratisation of air travel, actual studies in the UK showed that users are middle-class.)

How is devoting money to HSR rather than to urban mass transit a left-wing cause?

How is putting one range of mass transit against another in a death match a left-wing cause?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:34:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suggest that as a leftist, you should stop reading propaganda issued by right-wing anti-rail hacks paid by the highway lobby.

The only opinion piece I linked to was Edward Glaeser. He seems pretty much a mainstream 'bipartisan' economist, criticizing both parties when he feel it appropriate. Here are two of his less conservative writings:

http://www.hks.harvard.edu/news-events/news/commentary/dumb-mortgage-idea

Edward Glaeser Commentary: Who Should Get the Federal Stimulus Funds
January 5, 2009
by Edward Glaeser
The Boston Globe

Buffeted by recession, our nation has elected a president determined to act. President-elect Obama's advisers have called for a vast stimulus package of $750 billion or more. But macroeconomic events should never lead us to toss out the first rule of prudent policy: fund projects only when benefits exceed costs. The Obama administration, therefore, faces the challenge of spending at least three quarters of $1 trillion at breakneck speed on sensible stimulus projects.

. . . any macroeconomic benefits of the stimulus package will be easily undermined if stimulus funds are spent building bridges to nowhere.

What will minimize the risks of a fiscal fiasco? There are three plausible plans: new tax cuts for middle-income Americans; investing in infrastructure; and providing aid to states. Tax cuts can be implemented quickly and entail minimal waste, since the money shows up directly in people's pockets. The big problem with using the tax system to fight recession is that consumers don't necessarily spend the money. At least some may save, recognizing that current federal largesse will be offset by future taxes.

Perhaps the best way to avoid this problem is to target tax cuts toward lower-income Americans who are most likely to spend anything they get. The bulk of the fiscal stimulus could be used to radically reduce the Social Security and Medicare taxes paid by lower- and middle-income Americans over the next 18 months. A payroll tax cut should boost the economy by getting money in the hands of people who will spend it. . . .

http://www.hks.harvard.edu/news-events/news/commentary/glaeser-commentary-stimulus-funds-jan09

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:04:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are we getting into red state blue state again?... But let me show you his background you haven't looked at:

The World According to Paul Krugman - October 10, 2007 - The New York Sun

Human knowledge is produced by intellectual combat that exposes weak premises and faulty conclusions to withering challenge. We are often improved more by our ideological enemies than by our friends, because our enemies push us hardest. In that spirit, I welcome the publication of Paul Krugman's "The Conscience of a Liberal" (W.W. Norton, 352 pages, $25.95). The book espouses a world-view that is in many ways diametrically opposed to my own, but the process of intellectually disagreeing with Mr. Krugman fired my own passion for liberty more than the rhetoric of any current GOP presidential candidate does.

Mr. Glaeser is the Glimp professor of economics at Harvard, director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Manhattan Institute for Policy Research - Wikipedia

The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (renamed in 1981 from the International Center for Economic Policy Studies) is a conservative[1][2], market-oriented[3] think tank established in New York City in 1978 by Antony Fisher and William J. Casey, with its headquarters at 52 Vanderbilt Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.[4] They describe their mission as to "develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility". The Institute, known for its advocacy of free market-based solutions to policy problems, supports and publicizes research on the economy, energy, education, health care, welfare reform, the legal system, crime reduction, and urban life, among others. Their message is communicated through books, articles, interviews, speeches, op-eds, and through the institute's quarterly publication City Journal, targeted at policymakers, politicians, scholars, and journalists.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:15:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Glaeser is a moderate Republican, as you can see from his support of Obama's stimulus package. I don't see any argument against his economic analysis of a Dallas-Houston route, other than "that's not the route," or "why didn't he analyze the northeast corridor?"

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:13:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Glaeser is a moderate Republican

You again keep insisting on these red state blue state terms. I never mentioned his party book, I mentioned his politico-economic outlook. What matters here is that he is on a conservative think-tank advocating 'free market-based solutions' to policy problems -- a right-wing hack, in other words. He may play the "fair & balanced" trick at a more intellectual level than Fox News, but that makes him only more dangerous.

I don't see any argument against his economic analysis of a Dallas-Houston route, other than "that's not the route," or "why didn't he analyze the northeast corridor?"

Then you glossed over most of those blog posts, as also indicated by BruceMcF upthread. But, instead of confronting me on this in a blog post on Chinese HSR, I suggest you debate this with BruceMcF or start a blog post of your own about Obama's HSR spending.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 04:24:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We're talking about high-speed rail, basically transport for business people between major cities.

Not only business people use high-speed rail in Europe, just like not only business people use short-haul flights in the US.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:47:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was trying to remember my co-passengers on the occasions I used high-speed rail [note to fairleft: though the existing network is much wider, sadly rail isn't any more of a priority in Hungary than the USA, so I used it only on foreign travels), and I can't remember a single businessman -- then again, they probably sat on first-class while I was on second. The most common co-passenger I remember is, just like on normal EuroCity trains, students (basically on all trains I took in Austria, Germany and France); but there have been parents with children, whole classes of school children on excursion, old women.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:17:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suggest that as a leftist, you should stop reading propaganda issued by right-wing anti-rail hacks paid by the highway lobby.

Here we go again. All who oppose HSR are 'right-wing propagandists'.

The fact is that you did quote Glaeser, who is at least center-right even in an American political spectrum, so in a European reckoning can only be described as right-wing.

We're talking about high-speed rail, basically transport for business people between major cities.

(1) If true, then when faced with a choice in how to provide transport to business people between major cities like Eugene Oregon and Seattle Washington or Dayton Ohio and Columbus Ohio ... why spend the money on oil-dependent road and air infrastructure?

(2) What evidence is there that this is the case, other than the claims made by right wing hacks, many of them paid by the oil lobby?

How is devoting money to HSR rather than to urban mass transit a left-wing cause?

Who supports that position? What about urban areas too small to support a mass transit system? What about people in urban areas who local transport needs are best supported by a transport option other than mass transit? High frequency, high capacity dedicated transport corridors are not a one-size-fits-all solution to all transport needs any more than Auto-Uber-Alles is a one-size-fits-all solution.

Further, what is your strategy for expanding the political support base for urban local transport and mass transit spending beyond its existing support base? How do you to propose to extend the range of viability of urban local transport into smaller urban areas than can support a mass transit network and further into the suburbs than a mass transit network can reach? What is it that you propose to offer to rural voters as a quid pro quo for support for big city transport?

And if the only thing you have to offer to smaller cities and outer suburban and rural areas is road-based transport ... bear in mind the impact on our ecological footprint if we have to quickly rebuild over half of our housing stock so that everyone can move into large cities when oil costs too much or is simply unavailable.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 09:16:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When has rail of any description been a US spending priority since they stopped building lines across the Rockies with Chinese labour?

Well, it ended later than that - somewhere between 1920 and 1945.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:44:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
export of warped U.S. transport spending priorities (high-speed rail is one of them) to China

LOL. US transport spending priorities are 1) war, 2) highways, 3) airports. The US is a laggard in all rail spending including high-speed.

China has a massive problem with urban transit overcrowding

Also with airport overcrowding.

it could be spending money on:

And is. That subway is brand-new, and more are added at breakneck speed...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:51:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the big deal about getting there in 3-4 hours instead of 8 or 9?

What's the point of flying there? Unless you want to ground all airplanes, I don't see where your argument is heading.

how high a social priority should fulfilling that desire be, compared to other needs the money might be spent on?

About equal, I'd say. Note that unlike in Chicago, subway and light rail networks are growing rapidly in Spain and France, too.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:28:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you can fly there more cheaply in 3-4 hours, what is the point of spending additional funds so that you can go there in two different modes of transport? So the question becomes, what is the overall social benefit of providing a choice of air or rail between Madrid and Paris, compared to other social funding priorities?

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:37:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what is the point of spending additional funds so that you can go there in two different modes of transport?

It't not just an added opportunity but a replacement by a superior mode... As told downthread multiple times,

  • it's a more reliable service,
  • it can be faster point to point,
  • it involves (much) less CO2 emissions.

I add that rail does not just maintain its own and cut air passenger numbers, but take some from highways and generate new.

benefit ... compared to other social funding

Again, you want a death match between different forms of social funding. Instead of attacking inadequate overall funding in the USA.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:53:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Assuming it is an improvement in many cases, you still are talking about building a second high-speed mode of transportation between distant cities. We have airplanes and airports already, and that discounts pretty significantly from the overall social benefit from HSR.

And we're a country in the midst of an economic and state and local govt funding crisis.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:08:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Assuming it is an improvement in many cases

Assuming? Stating facts about passenger numbers.

We have airplanes and airports already, and that discounts pretty significantly from the overall social benefit from HSR.

You make the exact same argument as transit opponents who say that we have roads and cars and buses already, and that discounts pretty significantly from the overall social benefit from light rail. Which you should recognise as BS. And I note you ignored CO2.

And we're a country in the midst of an economic and state and local govt funding crisis.

Is that an anti-Keynesian argument against the stimulus package?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:20:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Generally, I don't think you're directly addressing my points.

Assuming it is an improvement in many cases

Assuming? Stating facts about passenger numbers.

Mebbe an over-outraged reaction to my concession for the sake of civilized argument?

We have airplanes and airports already, and that discounts pretty significantly from the overall social benefit from HSR.

You make the exact same argument as transit opponents who say that we have roads and cars and buses already, and that discounts pretty significantly from the overall social benefit from light rail. Which you should recognise as BS. And I note you ignored CO2.

You don't really meet my point here. Going off into an irrelevant tangent, how I sound 'just like' people who oppose light rail, is not an effective argument. Light rail and other forms of rail mass transit have a very strong CO2 argument on their side, taking direct aim at a very large and important source of CO2 gas. HSR doesn't have that argument, because occasional inter-city travel doesn't produce CO2 anywhere near like daily commuting does, and the difference between HSR CO2 and air travel CO2 in that relatively tiny slice of overall transportation is relatively small.

And we're a country in the midst of an economic and state and local govt funding crisis.

Is that an anti-Keynesian argument against the stimulus package?

I think it's an argument for expenditure focused on meeting critical human needs right now, and the more critical they get the more HSR funding should fade in priority.

Also, generally, I don't think HSR should be funded unless it is realistically capable of ridership that will pay for it. Maybe the Northeast, maybe the Florida route, but no, definitely NOT Chicago-St.Louis and many other proposed routes.

What I'd really like to see is Washington giving long-term block mass transit transportation funding to the states, in some manner biased toward rail, with a big percentage dedicated to infrastructure repair and expansion, and then let each state decide for itself its priorities. The forced march approach probly won't work, and just creates more incomplete plans and inefficiency.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:45:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree, I would also like to see more concrete numbers in support of rail transport in general.  Because currently the numbers (and hence objectivism) are all held by those railing against rail and the pro-rail people on the net seem to resort to hand waving :(
by njh on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 11:31:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
currently the numbers (and hence objectivism) are all held by those railing against rail

IIRC you see numbers in the above linked deconstructions of Glaeser's piece. There are numbers in all of my diaries. There are numbers in HSR studies, including the SNCF one BruceMcF mentions upthread.

Also, I don't follow the propaganda of the US anti-rail lobby as closely as our US-based readers, but my impression of those pieces is that it is mostly evidence-free handwaving with numbers pulled from the air, or (when taken from a European example) quoted out of context.

However, unless BruceMcF or Montereyan or someone else takes up the job, I can promise to go through the numbers in the WSJ article you told me about and present different ones myself in a week or two, when I'm done with other diary projects.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 05:14:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes please, I would appreciate that immensely.
by njh on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 05:40:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We have airplanes and airports already, and that discounts pretty significantly from the overall social benefit from HSR.

You make the exact same argument as transit opponents who say that we have roads and cars and buses already, and that discounts pretty significantly from the overall social benefit from light rail. Which you should recognise as BS. And I note you ignored CO2.

You don't really meet my point here. Going off into an irrelevant tangent, how I sound 'just like' people who oppose light rail, is not an effective argument.

Your point here is the same as Glaeser's point: that if we assume that there is already sufficient road and air transport capacity, then the choice of adding HSR capacity is a different question than if we assume that there are road and air transport capacity constraints.

And the answer is to address the merits of each proposed HSR project on its on merits rather than on the basis of sweeping stereotypes.

When SNCF (who has some experience in running HSR at operating surpluses, you must admit), investigated the potential for Express HSR corridors in the United States, the most promising areas that they found are:

  • California, San Francisco to Anaheim via the Central Valley and LA Basin
  • San Antonio to Dallas / Fort Worth
  • Milwaukee / Chicago / Toledo / Cleveland & Detroit
  • Tampa / Orlando

The California cluster has a second stage that follows the CHSRA plan, to Sacramento and San Diego.

The Midwestern cluster has a second phase Milwaukee to Minneapolis, Chicago to St. Louis, and Chicago to Cincinnati.

The Florida cluster has a second phase Orlando to Miami.

That's the result of a corridor by corridor analysis.

Does that imply that there should be not "High Speed Rail" spending outside those corridors?

Consider Glaeser's analysis of Express HSR from Houston to Dallas which was by construction biased against rail, but which resulted in numbers that make a Regional HSR corridor from Houston to connect to an Express HSR corridor between San Antonio and Dallas appear to be a quite promising proposition.

Of course, Glaeser framed the choice as Express HSR or nothing, and ignored the fact that San Antonio / Dallas is simply a stronger corridor with more intermediate trips along its length and with a distance end to end that is beyond target one to three hour trip time for core HSR transport markets.

And he ignored that fact that Houston/Dallas is well within the distance for which a Regional HSR corridor
is viable, so ignoring a much more capital efficient system in which a 125mph Regional HSR corridor runs from Houston to College Station to junction with a 220mph Express HSR corridor running between San Antonio and Dallas.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 12:57:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
my concession for the sake of civilized argument?

A civilised argument presupposes a debate based on facts. Your 'concession' however makes the superiority of high-speed rail over air in the eyes of passengers a hypothetical, ignoring the fact that passengers already voted with their feet and voted for HSR over planes on most corridors where it was introduced. And outrage grows with each instance of the repeat of such a claim after ignoring counter-arguments.

Going off into an irrelevant tangent

In a civilised argument, when you are confronted with an analogy, you should state why you think it doesn't apply rather than just call it irrelevant. Roads and cars and buses are an existing infrastructure for which the light rail or subway you desire is an expensive, but superior alternative; just like intercity rail (part of Obama's 'high-speed' spending) is for overcrowded highways, and HSR for short-haul flights and conventional long-distance trains sharing tracks with freight and local trains. In all three cases, the social benefit is in building a better alternative. If you deny its relevance in one case, then you should explain why you accept it in other cases.

Light rail and other forms of rail mass transit have a very strong CO2 argument on their side

HSR and intercity rail are "other forms of rail mass transit".

occasional inter-city travel doesn't produce CO2 anywhere near like daily commuting does

Nope. CO2 emissions aren't proportional to the number of journeys... proportionality to passenger-kilometres would be more close to it. Thus, for example, for the German Railways (see numbers I reproduced here), the primary energy consumption of long-distance trains is almost half of that of local trains.

relatively tiny slice of overall transportation

Transport itself is a relatively tiny slice of overall CO2 emissions. If you want to get serious, you have to attack all of the tiny slices.

In addition, you can't bring the bulk of even commuting on rails: as BruceMcF wrote, not everyone is living in high-density areas. Even in Europe, the largest branch of public transport is its lowest tier, buses.

What I'd really like to see is Washington giving long-term block mass transit transportation funding to the states,

I'm all with you on that. The USA should spend on mass transit transportation on levels like in China or Spain, or at least on livels like in France and other EU members. Only I don't see the point of excluding the least developed forms of mass transit transportation in the USA, and attacking that rather than spending on roads, Big Business tax breaks, bank bailouts and military -- the elephants in the room.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 05:05:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The name of the game is regional enlargement. The faster you travel, the further you can live from your job. What matters is not distance but travel time. Faster travel lower unemployment, stabilizes real estate prices and gives people more freedom to move.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:03:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, no, you want denser cities, more urbanization, if one of your major overall goals is CO2 reduction.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:47:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So? HSR doesn't create urban sprawl but links dense urban cities together, so you can live in one and work in another. They don't build HSR stations out in the sprawl. That's where you use light rail/S-Bahn. Using your argument, light rail would then promote urban sprawl...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 12:01:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Further, climate hysteria is not the end-all and be-all of energy and transport systems.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 12:02:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And you do not want to restrict denser cities and more urbanization only to large cities, but want to be able to infill smaller cities and towns to create denser cities and towns across the landscape.

It is not, after all, ecologically sustainable for the entire population to live in either large cities or small cities or towns or rural areas ... monoculture is a flaw in settlement systems as it is in agriculture.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 01:00:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And HSR and intercity rail stations, like the stations of all other levels of rail transport, promote that.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 05:18:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point is, there's already Paris-Montpellier and Madrid-Barcelona (both well under the 800km limit) so it's not that much of a stretch to link the two...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 02:41:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
fairleft: The actual cost is not comparable.

Has anyone tried calculating what the actual costs of building and operating these high speed rail systems are per kilometer, per person (including environmental costs, e.g. amount of carbon emitted)?  I believe this was done somewhere for air travel.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:48:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm looking but I can't find. Even the wikipedia article is under-sourced.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:39:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has anyone tried calculating what the actual costs of building and operating these high speed rail systems are per kilometer, per person (including environmental costs, e.g. amount of carbon emitted)?

There are such calculations in the cost-benefit study of most high-speed lines. I'm not sure though what figure you mean exactly.

Note: such calculations contain SEVERAL rather uncertain factors that can each lead to differences between projects of almost an order of magnitude:

  • raw construction costs: think of the amount of expensive tunnels, bridges etc. on a line
  • depreciation period (do you expect infrastructure to be in place for 20 years, 50 years?... this counted in Taiwan too)
  • financial costs (e.g. interest rates)
  • traffic projections
  • for CO2 emissions, the nature of electricity generation in the given country
  • etc.

I'll give you the construction cost per kilometre: anything from €10 to €75 million, typically €20 million

For CO2 emissions (I'm nt sure if you want it in grams or dollars), I explored the issue in rather boring detail in Railways, energy, CO2 - Part 1 and Part 2.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:41:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
noise pollution

land value decreases/increases along rail routes

It's undoubtedly a very complex equation.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:10:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That, too. And economic growth is created in adjacent cities, see the Beijing-Tianjin line's effect on Tianjin:

The sales volume of a century-old Tianjin baozi restaurant chain, Goubuli ("Go Believe") has increased by over 20 percent since the high-speed Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Rail began operation last year, according to Li Yongshan, general manager of Tianjin Goubuli Baozi Co. Ltd..

"Increasingly more people are coming, many from Beijing," Li told the Global Times. "In fact, we're so busy with customers that it was hard to keep the carpet clean so we changed to hard wood flooring."

...The train brings out of town day-trippers as well. The daily traffic of Tianjin's Ancient Culture Street has increased to 60,000 people and 150,000 during holidays, up by 15 percent overall after the train began running.

"I'm surprised that so many visitors come to Tianjin by high-speed railway and the visitors are so interested in the market," said Zhao Kuojiang, the deputy director of the Tianjin Committe of Commerce. "It's made our various economic indicators grow so fast."

All of them businesspeople and higher executives, you say...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:24:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and land value decreases around fairly large Aircraft take off/Landing areas,

Its not just trains that make noise.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 09:28:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To what extent is road transport and air transport subsidised?

Recently we learned that only 9 or 48 spanish airports lose money (source, google-translated). Highways are not toll roads. Rail is cleaner and mor energy efficient than either, so why is it a bad thing it is subsidised? Plus, I'm sure if cars cause libertarianism, trains must foster better social values.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:48:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean only 9 or 48 spanish airports losemake money

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 02:46:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Airlines are also VERY heavily subsidised.

At around £5bn/yr, UK rail subsidies are half the effective airline subsidy.

I'm not sure what the figures are like in the rest of the EU, but it's hardly the proverbial level playing field.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:49:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Distance from Beijing to Shanghai: 1,284 km.

Have you read the diary? They want to operate it at 380 km/h, giving a travel time of 4 hours. The 800 km figure is an application of the rule-of-the-thumb 3 hour radius at which high-speed rail wins 50%+ share, assuming 300 km/h max traffic with lower-speed city approaches, as typical in Europe. However, there are a number of lines in Europe that beat air at over 4 hours, so the rule is not ironclad, especialy when applied to China, where tolaration for longer travels is higher.

At any rate, the line would not carry non-stop trains only... there are several multi-million cities along the route, so just the 300 km relations if broken into four sections would justify the line.

Rail is VERY heavily subsidized.

So what?

  • Since when should leftists have problems with subsidies for stuff built for public benefit?
  • Air travel is heavily subsidized, too: lots of government money into airports, airplane development, and tax breaks all around (including fuel).
  • Unlike urban and rural rail, most high-speed rail projects will bring back the public investment. (And even for the exceptions, the problem tends to include expensive private financing, see Taiwan.)

The actual cost is not comparable.

Of what to what?

Moderately high speed (why set the world record other than to show yours is faster/bigger than theirs?) rail networks are sensible for densely populated regions

  • China is a VERY densely populated region. And big.
  • Japans is a VERY densely populated region. And big. And you haven't explained why you think the Shinkansen is a failure...
  • HSR works in Spain -- despite lack of a dense population.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:26:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Leftists should ask, who benefits from this particular massive subsidy? Leftists should also ask if that huge amount of money could be better spent providing better schools, housing, urban mass transit and so on.

We all know a primary motivator of massive construction projects (instead of, say, hiring more teachers and reducing class sizes), is the bribery and legal bribery that the construction industry supplies politicians and bureaucrats. In that context, unanalytical boosterism is right-wing.

And how much more costly is a 380K per hour rail network? And, again, who benefits? Business travelers? How urgent a social priority is it to provide an alternative to air travel that already provides service between Beijing and Shanghai? Compared to how the money could be spent?

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:42:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
who benefits from this particular massive subsidy?

Everyone who travels on it, everyone who travels on rival modes that become less crowded, and the environment.

Leftists should also ask if that huge amount of money could be better spent providing better schools, housing, urban mass transit and so on.

By your rules, leftists should ask whether the huge amount of money into Chinese subways would be better spent on providing better schools, housing and so on... No, leftists should not neglect one sector for another. Leftists should ask whether huge amounts of money on long-distance transportation are better spent on high-speed rail or highways and airport expansions.

the bribery and legal bribery that the construction industry supplies politicians and bureaucrats

Does that not apply to urban mass transit projects, too?... This is not a reason to not build them. It is more a reason to work towards containing the phenomenon. For example, it exists both in Spain and Italy, but Spain managed to bring down subway and high-speed rail construction costs below French levels at the same time, while Italy builds everything at the world's highest prices.

How urgent a social priority is it to provide an alternative to air travel that already provides service between Beijing and Shanghai?

  1. Air travel grows -- to maintain it, ever more airport expansions are needed.
  2. air travel is unreliable.
  3. airports are far from city centres.
  4. air transport involves spewing lots of CO2.
  5. air transport benefits huge private airlines who corrupt government politicians and finance anti-rail propaganda, while China's railways are operated by a national company.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:23:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We all know a primary motivator of massive construction projects (instead of, say, hiring more teachers and reducing class sizes), is the bribery and legal bribery that the construction industry supplies politicians and bureaucrats.

LOL. Are you Italian? I think you're cultural mores might have a somewhat adverse effect on your analytical stringence in this case.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that was low from you...

I note again though that construction firm clientism is (or at least was in Aznar times) ripe in Spain too, yet efficiency increased and construction costs could be pushed down (even accounting for spectacular mistakes like the tunnels in moving hillsides near Barcelona).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 05:22:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of asking 'who does this benefit?' (emphasis added):

Most Chinese rail travelers won't pay the premium to ride on the fast trains, Zhao Jian, a professor of economics at Beijing Jiaotong University, said in a September interview on Chinese television.

A second-class one-way ticket for the half-hour Beijing- Tianjin trip costs 58 yuan, about three-quarters of the workers' average daily pay. A so-called hard-seat ticket on a slower train, which covers the distance in two hours, sells for 11 yuan.

Passenger reluctance means revenue from the high-speed lines won't be enough to service the debt if railway expansion continues at its current pace, Zhao said in the TV interview. China's Ministry of Railways has 383 billion yuan in bonds outstanding.

"If America had its subprime crisis, in China we have a railroad-debt crisis, or you could call it a government-debt crisis," Zhao said in the TV interview.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aFw2m.3un3dk&pos=12

Zhao's probably a Republican, though, so we should ignore him.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:52:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Society is supposed to be geared for the middle class, and within a pretty short time most Chinese will be middle class as well.

And it's quite absurd to claim that China, creditor of the world, is in a "government-debt crisis".

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 12:05:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
within a pretty short time most Chinese will be middle class as well

Hm, maybe yes, maybe not. But no reason to ignore the working class in a supposedly communist country.

If I were CR head, I'd accept longer times of return on investment and, even if not adopting the original TGV policy of equal prices, reduce CRH ticket prices by at least a half.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 05:40:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note that I criticised the ticket price policy right in the diary, and again downthread... it's fun to debate someone who doesn't read what I write.

I also note again that while CRH's middle-class focus is a class issue, your claim was that HSR is upper-class (businessmen and executives). The bulk of the 18.7 million passengers who bought that 58 yuan ticket and went shopping in Tianjin's market were hardly CEOs...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 05:27:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I note that 18.7 million x Y58 = Y1.0846 billion, with the actual figure of course higher due to first-class tickets. The line cost Y14.3 billion -- so with these high ticket prices, even if traffic would not grow further as it always does, the investment itself would return in 13 years. Cutting ticket prices would not necessarily reduce income, and certainly not by the same amount, due to the extra passengers who could now afford the trains. The missing info however is CRH operating costs. (Employee wages and material and energy costs are lower than in Western examples, so it would be difficult to scale from there.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 09:22:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
re: missing info

Where would a reader find data estimating total market size (TMS)? That is total number of persons willing or able to purchase one Y58 ticket, or populations reporting (disposable) income sufficient to purchase at least one Y58 ticket per week, month, annum. Note that the fraction of persons willing and able to purchase is sometimes denoted, the feasible market. Absent any price discrimination, any any change to variable costs, and any change to income distribution, we can approximate...

a. 18.7M is 5% of 374M. (90th pctl, business or upper-class, TMS =374M =28% total population)
b. 18.7M is 1.4% of 1.3B. (90th pctl, business or upper-class, TMS =1.3B)
c. 18.7M is 50% of 37.4M (median pctl or middle-class, TMS=37.4M, obviously falsifiable)

...base case of revenue generation required to service and retire debt within a specified period, i.e. maturity date of bonds issued to fund the project, as well as (other) fixed operating costs.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 12:06:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
total number of persons willing or able to purchase one Y58 ticket

That would be difficult without access to Chinese statistics. Just for the able side, we would have to know

  • the income distribution in Beijing
  • the same in Tianjin
  • the number of inhabitants in both within say half an hour of the stations
  • number of tourists who would stay long enough in Beijing to visit Tianjin too

In addition, the total market is not the number of persons willing and able to buy a ticket: you have to multiply by the average number of trips these people would take each year, to get the total number of potential trips, and, hence, tickets sold. (Say if on average two trips are taken both way, those 18.7 million passengers were 4.675 million individuals.)

Lacking any of these data, I can only collect rough numbers like:

  • Total population: due to the short distance and the fact that planned intermediate stations aren't yet opened, that should be city propers, which is 13 million + 3.92 million ~= 17 million.
  • About a third of Beijing's population is migrant workers or people with temporary residence permits.
  • 2008 urban disposable income per capita was Y24,725 in Beijing, Y19,423 in Tianjin (tendency: strong growth).


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 01:41:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be difficult without access to Chinese statistics.

.cn publishes online census data, English language classification of tabulations. The data however are not manipulable (i.e. no client-server app to display customized DB tabulation). Additionaly, private-sector researchers do sell actually, truly detailed descriptive data. Are you willing AND able to pay for it?

Just for the able side, we would have to know

  • the income distribution in Beijing

  • the same in Tianjin

This data is not either impossible to collect or to retrieve. Residents pay taxes. Field survey notwithstanding, current tax records cross-tab to postal ID (location) may not be available online, but that inconvenience to you or I says absolutely nothing about the pertinence and availability of the data to project managers and financial analysts assigned to design and securitization of HSR construction and operating expenses (CapEx). These persons will have also examined at least population-income distribution by metropolitan area between the two terminals. They will have done so in order to project or forecast growth rate of utilization, ergo revenue, over some specified period in the future, assuming change to base case project requirements, e.g. income distribution, intermediate terminal construction.

  • the number of inhabitants in both within say half an hour of the stations

  • number of tourists who would stay long enough in Beijing to visit Tianjin too

Proximity is an arbitrary or hypothetical time limit as is length of interval between utilization (demand for seat,fare). "Tourist" is a subset of total market size, a class of prospective buyers. Another class is "commuter." Classification of buyers is sometimes called market segmentation. Each class is differentiated according to reported common and eccentric purchasing preferences. Calculation of total market precedes segmentation, ergo price structure and declarations of price elasticities, ideally. Calculation of total market precedes market share of enumerated producers of same good or service. (Say, toothbrushes: in saturated markets, "economists" cannot help but define buyer characteristics according to psychological attributes since everyone knows, unconsciously, product differentiation by price and "efficiencies" are bollocks. As compared to prosthesis investment. heh.)

In addition, the total market is not the number of persons willing and able to buy a ticket: you have to multiply by the average number of trips these people would take each year, to get the total number of potential trips, and, hence, tickets sold.

mmmm, no. Total market is persons willing OR able, sum of, as stated above. In other words, total market is at least the sum of HSR buyers AND conventional rail (multi-station or "local stop") buyers. Total feasible is willing AND able, where able is a term defined coincidence of disposable income to HSR fare, some ratio of utility or observed quantified preference, perfect elasticity, 0->1. Scenarios a-c are hypothetical statements which can be tested by descriptive statistics NOT econometric methods.

"Total number of potential trips, and, hence, tickets sold" is forecast revenue, a utilization identity, e.g. product of disposable income and preference per person on one hand and capacity utilization, number of seats available for sale per train per trip on the other. Incidentally, tourism is a leisure activity, a moderne trope of quantified disposable income; tourists are persons who save volutarily (sacrifice) or involuntarily (surplus) earnings.

Lacking any of these data, I can only collect rough numbers like:

Well, there you go. Microeconomic analysis. (except I'd double check "2008 urban disposable income per capita was Y24,725 in Beijing, Y19,423;" per capita quotient is is gross income. And abnormal.)

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Feb 24th, 2010 at 11:52:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I must add my praise. I thoroughly enjoy your articles on the industry, because your attention to product detail (manufacture, capacities) informs your attention to industry structure (firm competition).

blah blah ;) macroeconic analysis ...

An issue seemingly dismissed is the possibility that government (public-private) HSR investment is entirely justified by faciliating movement of "business or upper-class" passengers to the capitol for um conferences. Utilization may never exceed, say 1% growth annually, IF freight and passenger preferences spectrum are not added to the "marketing mix."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Feb 24th, 2010 at 12:10:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you willing AND able to pay for it?

No :-) I'm anything but rich.

that inconvenience to you or I says absolutely nothing about the pertinence and availability of the data to project managers and financial analysts assigned to design and securitization of HSR construction and operating expenses (CapEx)

Of course. And that's how cost estimates are made. But you asked me, and I don't have these data.

"Tourist" is a subset of total market size, a class of prospective buyers.

Tourist is an addition to local residents, whose purse size you can deduce from census figures.

mmmm, no. Total market is persons willing OR able

Nope. Some of these are able and willing to buy one ticket a year, some are willing to do that once a week. The line lives from the number of tickets sold, not number of actual persons buying tickets.

per capita quotient is is gross income

Not on the Wikipedia pages I took the numbers from. Rural per capita disposable income is much lower.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Feb 25th, 2010 at 06:16:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tourist is an addition to local residents

I mean: tourists who come to both Beijing and Tianjin as tourists (e.g. mostly furriners).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Feb 25th, 2010 at 08:48:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm ready to bet that the majority of tourists in Beijing is soon to be Chinese if it isn't already...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Feb 28th, 2010 at 12:57:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And you would be right, big time.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Thu Mar 4th, 2010 at 01:12:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rail is heavily subsidized against "pay their own way" air and "pay their own way" road?

Where is this "pay their own way" air and road that you imply exists?


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:04:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops, those airports aren't free! Neither is air traffic control and all that security...

And rail...so environmentally unfriendly, as opposed to air.

Fairleft? What does fair left mean in your view?

by redstar on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:14:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So 'heavy funding for HSR' is a cry of the left, not just a cry of 'supporters of HSR'? I'm happy to leave left or right out of this particular debate, though I think local transit is MUCH more a left cause, because it's about middle-middle-class and working class people getting to work reasonably cheaply and conveniently, and it has a much stronger environmental impact, whereas HSR is for businesspeople and other 'workers' who frequently travel between distant cities.

Can we have reasoned, evidence-full disagreement, or is this about marking territory as left or right and then calling the other side ridiculous?

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:15:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think local transit is MUCH more a left cause, because it's about middle-middle-class and working class people getting to work reasonably cheaply and conveniently, and it has a much stronger environmental impact, whereas HSR is for businesspeople and other 'workers' who frequently travel between distant cities.

But your vision of left causes seems to be restricted to middle-middle class and working class people who live in large cities, and is focused on allowing cars to be left in the driveway during the workday rather than focused on allowing cars to be dispensed with altogether.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 01:04:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's about making an automobile-free or limited automobile lifestyle possible. Ultimately, it's about the environment as much as it is making travel possible for the greatest amount of people possible. And, as it is about the environment, it is about flexibility of energy source.
by redstar on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 02:18:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, which reminds me to add one of the synergy arguments. When you build a rail line of any type, it won't have influence on people's choice of tranport mode on its own corridor only.

Say, if you build a suburban rail line, a family a light rail stop from the suburban rail station who visits the grandmother in the village once a week might decide to leave the car on workday commuting, too, having discovered light rail; or commuters who are attracted by a new diesel branchline will use the village bus once they bought the monthly card to get to the train station.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 05:48:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
point here. The alternative to HSR is not medium speed rail or automobile. It's air. Which is heavily subsidized and bad for the environment.

Why is this? Because a large body of industry knowledge (full disclosure, a few of us work in it) indicates that if you make rail travel between a city-pair go under 3 hours, people will take rail. Over three hours, they fly.

So, since people have to travel, and travel makes the economy quite literally grow (which is why business travel drives the industry...)  policy makers make decisions related to how to sustainably and equitably facilitate this. HSR is the responsible choice.

Of course, the airlines hate this, which is why you'll never see it in the US. But, don't export your US-centric view of the matter elsewhere, thank you.

by redstar on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 02:25:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So are airports. And jet fuel is tax free. Then you have the security of supply and balance of trade profits, which are not accounted for.

Apples cannot be compared with oranges.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:04:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Flying from Osaka to Tokyo is cheaper than taking the Shinkansen.

Right now, just checked:

Shinkansen: Y28,500 rt
Fly (Haneda to Itami (both airports near the city centers): Y22,200

Shinkansen price here: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=beijing%2C%20china%20google%20map&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microso ft:en-US&oe=utf8&rlz=1I7DMUS_en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wl

Air ticket price here: http://www.air-j.com/app/view.php?F1Month=3&F1Day=23&F1Departure=HND&F1Destination=ITM&a mp;r1=&source=en.japan-guide.com&Frame=&site=1&submit=Search&F2Month=3&F2Day =25&F2Departure=ITM&F2Destination=HND

The shinkansen was a vanity project from the start, and now it is a way of rewarding political support from the powerful building/construction industry lobby. It has cost the taxpayers of Japan multiple trillions of yen, and, uh, what was the purpose?

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:47:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Flying from Osaka to Tokyo is cheaper than taking the Shinkansen.

So what? If it gets you to your destination faster and more reliably, then it's worth the money. And no kerosene burning involved.

The shinkansen was a vanity project

Um, a vanity project that is profitable and carries over 100 million passengers a year? I take it any day.

uh, what was the purpose?

Ask those over 100 million passengers.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:55:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why "So what?" Why be such a poor sport? The cost of the two modes of transportation is a relevant issue. Your side lost on this point, but I'm sure there must be cases where taking the high-speed train is cheaper than flying, and you can show those to us.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:17:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your side failed to respond to

If it gets you to your destination faster and more reliably, then it's worth the money. And no kerosene burning involved.

Your side also ignored marco's more detailed account of why rail is preferred.

...and your side lost that argument decades ago already when the Shinkansen began to carry 100 million passengers a year, disregarding your belief that airline ticket price vs. rail ticket price is the only factor.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:27:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As DoDo said, if it was a purely vanity project it wouldn't be as massively popular as it is.

In Japan, being a largely equal society, everybody is middle class, and just about everybody can afford the shinkansen for occasional trips.

I've ridden on the shinkansen, twice.  It's nice.  The cabin is more spacious than on an airplane, and feels far less contained.  Further, you can walk on the platform from the street, with no security checks or check-in hassles, buy a ticket from an automated vendor, and be on your train within half an hour - less, if you've timed things right or bought the ticket in advance.

Given the price differentials between air and the train, it's not hard to see that one is getting something for the extra 6000 yen, or $60 USD given the 1:100 average (that's what prices for equivalent goods rounds out to - a candy bar costs about $1 in the US and 100 yen in Japan.)

Finally, have you looked at the urban rail/subway map of Tokyo?  I don't think anyone can reasonably argue that they have skimped on the investment there.  

by Zwackus on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:50:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
fairleft: Flying from Osaka to Tokyo is cheaper than taking the Shinkansen.

Try playing around with Jorudan.

You'll find that total travel times and costs (including travel to/from the airports/train stations) for Tokyo <--> Osaka are about the same, with flying by plane about 10 to 15 minutes shorter and 1000-2000 yen (8-16 euros) less expensive.

Add to this the fact that while public transportation in Japan is a dream, getting to Haneda is generally more of a hassle and takes about twice as long from central Tokyo than getting to Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station.  Often, coming from more peripheral parts of Tokyo, you also have more transfers to get to Haneda Airport.

Add to this that even if you are not checking in luggage, you generally need to be at the airport at least 30 minutes before the flight, while you only to be at Tokyo or Shinagawa Station a few minutes before the train departs.

Add to this that while the total travel is slightly longer by Nozomi, you can spend most of that time sleeping in the train instead of transferring on trains to get to the airport, checking in, shuffling into the plane, waiting to board, waiting to unboard, etc.

No wonder the Nozomi's seem to be always fully booked and if you don't buy your ticket a few days ahead, usually you won't get on the train you want (at least in my experience.)

I did not mention the fact that taking the shinkansen emits far less CO2 than flying.  Is that a relevant factor for you?

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:53:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You must be middle class elite or something.

Now seriously, this Add to this that even if you are not checking in luggage, you generally need to be at the airport at least 30 minutes before the flight, while you only to be at Tokyo or Shinagawa Station a few minutes before the train departs is one of the biggest mistakes they made with Eurostar - you need to check in half an hour before departure too.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:58:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All the same, though Eurostar has become the dominant operator in cross-channel intercity passenger travel on the routes that it operates, carrying more passengers than all airlines combined.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:59:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
carrying more passengers than all airlines combined.

That's an undertstatement.

Railway Gazette: Through services vital for high-speed success

EUROPE: Eurostar's share of the rail+air market from London to Paris, Brussels and Lille is now nearly 85%, Commercial Director Nick Mercer told a Railway Forum seminar in London on October 15, and even on routes with 4 h journey times other Railteam members 'take more than 50% market share'.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:22:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And flying is still cheaper than taking the Shinkansen.

You know, it would be nice if my debaters would as a general matter respond to my good points with something like, "Well, good point, and that matters. On the other hand, there are the following various air travel costs and inconveniences you may not have considered . . ."

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:20:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
fairleft: You know, it would be nice if my debaters would as a general matter respond to my good points with something like, "Well, good point, and that matters. On the other hand, there are the following various air travel costs and inconveniences you may not have considered . . ."

You are right: my subject line and tone in that comment were inappropriate.  I apologize for any offense you took.

If I may follow up with a question:  Having now considered those other travel costs and inconveniences, do you still believe the shinkansen is just a "vanity project"?

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:45:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it possible that this reduced fare is an attempt to maintain market share?  I know that buses are often cheaper than trains due to the perceived drop in value.  Why would they do this?  Because it's better to fly a full plane at a small loss than an empty plane at a large loss.
by njh on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 09:22:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You've claimed air is cheaper than rail.
You've claimed HSR is only use by business travellers or upper middle classes
You've claimed HSR is irrelevant to climate change mitigation efforts.
You've claimed that anyone who disagrees with you is just another deluded lefty.

I don't think I have seen any actual data points to back any of this.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 03:09:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris: You've claimed air is cheaper than rail.

Well, in this comment, fairleft does provide fare prices indicating that flight fares from Haneda Airport in Tokyo to Osaka Airport are cheaper than shinkansen tickets from Tokyo Station to Osaka Station (I am assuming: she must have accidentally pasted in a broken link to Beijing for the train data).  Generally it's true that flying is cheaper than taking the train between Tokyo and Osaka.  But as I pointed out above, this overlooks significant costs to/from airports and train stations, as well as added inconveniences and less useful time available when flying vs. training.  So strictly speaking, fairleft's point is correct, but strictly speaking I do not find it very relevant given the relatively small price differential combined with these other practical considerations.

Jerome a Paris: You've claimed HSR is irrelevant to climate change mitigation efforts.

The actual words: high-speed trains (which have virtually no positive environmental impact).  fairleft begins to elucidate this statement later: Long-distance HSR vs long-distance air or ground travel is a relatively minor matter compared to the daily commute.  Then elaborates in another comment:

Light rail and other forms of rail mass transit have a very strong CO2 argument on their side, taking direct aim at a very large and important source of CO2 gas. HSR doesn't have that argument, because occasional inter-city travel doesn't produce CO2 anywhere near like daily commuting does, and the difference between HSR CO2 and air travel CO2 in that relatively tiny slice of overall transportation is relatively small.

However, I did not actually see any numbers supporting these claims.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 03:48:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You've claimed that anyone who disagrees with you is just another deluded lefty.

That one s/he certainly didn't.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 05:50:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Possibly that any lefty who disagrees is deluded?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 05:51:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, because the price of oil will ALWAYS remain constant and never, ever increase for any reason at all.

Even here in the US the wannabe HSR Acela trains on the Northeast Corridor have at least 40% of the market share of trips from DC to NY.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:45:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want to massively conserve oil the most logical thing to to do is massively build up your rail mass transit within major urban areas. Not build inter-city vanity projects.

It's weird, there's this 'guy thing' about super-speedy trains, I guess.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:50:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have flown and driven between LA and San Francisco, and high-speed rail along the Central Valley is a no-brainer to me.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:52:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
San Diego, Sacramento, San Jose, LA and SF are vast suburban expanses, and especially all (SF less so) would chiefly rely on fairly long-distance car commutes for its population to reach the high-speed train stations. I don't think the economic numbers add up. And again if you could choose where to spend transportation money, you should definitely build up mass transit within the SF, LA, Sacramento, San Jose, and San Diego areas before creating an HSR rail line.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:48:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess you missed my parallel comment about Metrolink and the LA Metro...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:36:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why the rudeness? For what is that helpful?

I'm referring to this kind of commenting:

Right, because the price of oil will ALWAYS remain constant and never, ever increase for any reason at all.

Is that how you would phrase your point in, say, a grad school classroom? Are you trying to bully me away from participating here?

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:22:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why the rudeness?

I guess because you missed his parallel comment about Metrolink and the LA Metro... look, if you want a debate, don't ignore what the other side said.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:29:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I never wrote that.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 02:48:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the two help each other: a HSR line can be (and in Europe and East Asia, often is) used as argument to build a light rail (which can be built faster) connecting to its station, with the (correct) reasoning that a higher number of passengers on the light rail line can be expected. In general, stations of one mode of public transport can serve as hubs for a more local mode.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:40:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Doesn't that seem sort of odd, to build the inter-city HSR first, and then hopefully, in some unscheduled someday (no funding now contemplated by the Obama administration), the local transit needed to feed the inter-city HSR?

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:24:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is anyone here arguing against building light rail? A depression is the best time to build all the crap you ever wanted.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:30:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
fairleft wants the high-speed part of the stimulus package, rather than the much bigger highway part or the even bigger tax break part. Not to mention certain elephants in the kitchen.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:35:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's obviously preferable to start projecting both at the same time, but if not, the operation subsidy requiring light rail project will have a higher likelihood of being approved once the HSR project has started. Why you chose to ignore this point is beyond me.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:31:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be suicidal for California, for instance, to postpone working on development of HSR on the excuse that first local transport has to be built out.

Maybe back in the 60's and 70's, but California simply cannot afford the luxury of spending $80b+ for intercity transport capacity that it can get for under $50b from HSR.

Its collaborating in allowing the road building lobby to keep holding the state of California up for ransom.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:42:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't people drive long distances to the airports already?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:49:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. So, there's likely not a great deal of difference there between the HSR and air travel, in almost all U.S. cities. Well, except that some U.S. cities, I know Chicago, have built mass transit (that needs to be improved and extended) to their major airports. That's not the case in places like San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, L.A., San Diego, and so on.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:26:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that while airports are located far away from cities (especially the budget airlines, "Frankfurt" Hahn, my old grandmother...), while train stations are usually one of the proud inner-city buildings which have been lavishly decorated and maintained, not to mention perfectly located.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:18:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For fairness, fairleft is talking about American sprawl, and for example LA has an airport within city limits. On the other hand, there is a difference between an airport link that connects to other mass transit lines at its other end, and several mass transit routes crossing at the long-distance railway station as hub...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 08:55:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet again you are wrong.

SF does have mass transit to the airport; it's called BART.

LA comes very close with the Green Line, but is planning a direct rail link to LAX as part of its 30/10 plan, which is proceeding ahead as planned alongside HSR.

SD is actually planning to use HSR to link downtown to its airport (proposed HSR/Airport station, linked to existing Trolley line).

Your attempts to claim HSR and other local rail as being in conflict with each other fall apart on the evidence.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Wed Feb 24th, 2010 at 11:24:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is simply untrue. Not a matter of disagreeing with you, but instead a matter of pointing out where you are peddling false information.

First, the HSR stations will be in the middle of the "vast suburban expanses" you describe, in the dense urban cores of SF, San Jose, LA, Orange County, Sacramento and San Diego. That central location means that trips to the HSR station won't be "long-distance" for most, and HSR stations will be closer to more people than airports currently are.

Second, you assert without any evidence "I don't think the economic numbers add up." You need to prove, not assert, that statement.

Third, HSR and local rail are not incompatible. They boost each other. HSR is the centerpiece of several local mass transit projects, from SF Transbay Terminal to the Anaheim RTIC. HSR will be the occasion to improve feeder lines as people seek rail connections to their destinations.

Fourth, HSR is NOT preventing Los Angeles from moving ahead with its ambitious "30/10" plans to build 12 local rail projects in 10 years instead of the originally planned 30. That includes the long-needed Subway to the Sea, as well as other projects that will improve the hub at Union Station - where HSR trains will stop as well.

You just don't know what you're talking about here. You're spouting off assumptions that lack evidence or run directly counter to the facts, but you don't seem to care because you've already made up your mind and don't want an honest discussion.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Wed Feb 24th, 2010 at 11:22:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL. No "guy thing" about super-speedy planes?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:54:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm trying to figure out which is more phallic, an airplane or a train.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:56:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And how precisely will urban mass transit reduce CO2 emissions from long-distance flying and driving?... This string local mass transit vs. long-distance mass-transit contradiction appearing in US anti-rail arguments perpelexes me.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:02:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And how precisely will urban mass transit reduce CO2 emissions from long-distance flying and driving?...

Why are you mistating my point? Obviously cars are the main transportation CO2 problem, and getting people out of them as much as possible is all reasonable environmentalists' goal. Long-distance HSR vs long-distance air or ground travel is a relatively minor matter compared to the daily commute.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:30:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously cars are the main transportation CO2 problem,

Yes. And rail is another major transportation CO2 problem. Why do you want to attack only one problem?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:34:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
fairleft: Long-distance HSR vs long-distance air or ground travel is a relatively minor matter compared to the daily commute.

Do you believe that the amount of investment going into urban mass transit vs. HSR should depend on the particular circumstances of a given country or region?  Or should all money always go into urban mass transit, with none at all going into HSR, regardless of country or region?

If you do believe that it's sometimes alright to invest in HSR, would you approve doing so if there were already enough investment in developing urban mass transit there?  And if so, at what point do you say that urban mass transit is in good enough shape to approve investing in HSR?  Or do you feel that after urban mass transit and before HSR, still other needs take priority (e.g. healthcare, education, etc.)?

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:52:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... to do only one of many needed things because of a Reagan-style argument over which is the "most important" among the set of needed things.

The habit of thought in which local transit advocates view all transport as a zero sum game where a more efficient intercity transport system is a net loss to local transit is self-destructive. It is doing the "divide" part of a "divide and conquer" strategy of the Reaganauts for them.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:10:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Priorities are a 'Reagan-style' argument? Did you really need to go there? In the real world we see priorities, and I don't think HSR is as important as local mass transit. So, now I'm Reagan for saying that.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:31:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. You're being a useful idiot for the right by providing a divisive argument against a useful mode of public transport. e.g. this other mode is more useful, and doesn't benefit the rich - when it is clear that the modes are complementary and that as budget items they are both dwarfed by spending on propping up home values in suburbs and infrastructure for automobiles.

Your inability to see the larger politics involved is bad enough in itself, the frustration I have is that your views are something afflicting larger portions of the American left.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 03:09:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When we start calling each other useful idiots for the right it's a surefire sign that ET's heat-to-light limit has been exceeded in this thread and discussion should stop as no more productive debate is to be had.

Which is not to say I disagree with your comment and wouldn't be tempted to post a similar one, complete with useful idiocy accusations and expressions of dismay at the state of the American left.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 05:08:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... categories with no coherent grounds in reality, but instead chosen based on a symbolic relationship ...

... and then forcing the members of those categories to fight for investment funds, rather than investing in those projects that justify the investment ... you have already "brought us there". I have to go there if I am going to discuss the issue with you, since that is where you are.

"We should not invest in HSR, we should invest in mass transit instead".

Except the people that have created this argument for the consumption of progressives use the same argument when it comes time for a mass transit system. "We should not invest in mass transit, its too expensive, it relies too heavily on uncertain projections of population growth, we should invest in light rail instead," and, "we should not invest in light rail, it is too expensive, we should invest in Bus Rapid Transit instead." And then, "that version of BRT is too expensive, this is a more capital-efficient version."

And then finally, "What, is that what the fuss is about? That will not provide anywhere near the benefits to justify the cost".

And that's the Reaganite shell-game within a collection of overlapping transport tasks. You are participating in the shall game between two quite distinct transport tasks, each of which will receive further investment in infrastructure for oil-dependent systems unless a more oil-independent option is invested in.

You need to show why working families should not have the ability to make intercity trips in the middle of an oil price shock in order to show that there is no benefit to working families from investment in a more energy independent intercity transport option. I have not seen that argument as of yet (though it is, of course, a sprawling comment thread).

You claim that HSR is a vanity project that is not justified as an investment project, and appeal to an argument from an economist who considers a corridor that in SNCF's 1,000 page submission to the DoT for expressions of interest in operating HSR services does not hit either the first or second cut in terms of corridors meriting in depth investigation for Express HSR ...

... and whose own numbers, already shown by Ryan Avent and others to be strongly biased against the investment due to its implicit assumption that there is no congestion on existing roadways between Houston and Dallas and that there will be no diversion of trips from cars to HSR, suggest that a 110mph Emerging HSR corridor is a justified investment.

And of course, what is killing ridership on local public transport in California at the moment is the loss of state operating subsidies at the same time that local dedicated sales-tax generated operating subsidies have fallen. Yet you are arguing for not building the sole intercity transport system that has been shown to be able to operate without operating subsidies, and therefore the sole intercity transport system that can receive capital subsidies from the Federal government now without locking the state of California into ongoing expenditures to operate the system in the future.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 11:33:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is absolutely NOT an either/or proposition, as you seem to want to make it. We do not have to choose between HSR and local rail, or between passenger rail and schools. The assumption that we must choose between them is an acceptance of right-wing framing and right-wing policy, and I utterly and completely reject it.

And the world will live as one
by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Wed Feb 24th, 2010 at 11:16:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
money, that could've been much MUCH better spent on (okay, far less sexy) urban rail and subways
As DoDo said,
there are also massive programs to expand wind power, mass transit -- and railways


En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 12:51:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... gullible enough to fall for a poorly thought through argument that it makes sense to focus all the "money" in any one transport task - passenger vs freight, intercity versus local, scheduled versus dispatchable.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 01:42:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's pretty much no money at all for mass transit, in fact things are going the opposite direction. The 15% cutbacks in Chicago's mass transit are real, and I think the situation is similar across the country, especially in California I would think.

I wish it weren't so, but, for example, I remember the 'infrastructure' portion of the 2009 stimulus devoted somewhere around 1.5% of its total to rail mass transit.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:50:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's pretty much no money at all for mass transit

Nope. There is, but just like for high-speed and intercity rail, there is scarce. Still, several light rail projects are on-going across the USA (on the same day California voters approved the high-speed bond, voters also approved half a dozen such projects), and DC and New York (at last after lots of delays) have on-going subway projects.

I remember the 'infrastructure' portion of the 2009 stimulus devoted somewhere around 1.5% of its total to rail mass transit.

The high-speed part relates to it the same way...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:58:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In pure economics a well-planned bus corridor makes more sense for inter-city transit.

Certainly if we're so limited as to ignore that people need to travel longer distances in a reasonable amount of time.  If there is no rail, there is only air travel and individual automobile.

Also, Chicago has a good subway system by any measure.  Most of the CTA fund increases, etc, are due to brain-dead mismanagement and city government corruption.  Meanwhile a thousand people a day get in a car and drive to St Louis or Milwaukee because they can't take a train.

by paving on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:48:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chicago has the second-longest average automobile commute in the country, after L.A. So, something is wrong and we are using cars way too much. And we need an expanded alternative.

And Chicago is corrupt, but as far as transit is concerned it's in exactly the same boat as everywhere else in the U.S. Mass transit is being cut back everywhere because of the funding crisis that's causing state governments to cut back everything. It's having the reverse effect of the stimulus act, but I guess that was the plan.

A good description of the mass transit funding crisis is here:

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/06/22/transit/

People can take the train to Milwaukee (it's fast and convenient), and St. Louis (not so fast) right now. There is no real 'problem' there. NO ONE in Chicago is crying out about the Chicago-St. Louis transportation crisis. Seriously, rationality would focus on aiding the cities' transit systems now.


fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:46:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... who is using the financial crisis from the Panic of 2008 on top of the unending chronic financial crisis in California as an excuse to do his oil industry buddies a favor.

But at the federal level, transit funding is up and HSR funding is up, so the argument that transit funding automatically suffers a dollar loss for every dollar allocated to HSR is just patent nonsense.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:12:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The priorities are obvious. HSR is a solution for a non-problem, while funding mass transit (both ongoing operations and new construction) is a solution for a major real crisis that is happening right now.

As I said previously, there is no Chicago-Milwaukee transportation crisis. But when the average automobile commute in Chicago is the second-longest in the country, you have a real crisis and a real demand there.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:49:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the critical part under the US system of public finance is getting the operations funding. Capital subsidies for road projects both directly undermine farebox revenue for local transit and also consume funds to support road operations. Aviation funding regularly taps the general fund for operating subsidies whenever the Congress commits so much from the ticket tax trust fund for capital works that the balance is not sufficient to cover the costs of the air traffic control system and other aviation operating costs.

How do capital subsidies for the only intercity transport system that does not require ongoing operating subsidies  make it harder to provide operating subsidies to local transit?

And that is not even considering the opportunity to gain direct benefits from HSR, both in terms of providing non-peak commute traffic anchors that allow marginal local transit networks to increase their off-peak ridership and improve their load factors and viability, and in terms of urban rail system improvements required by HSR and also useful for local rail.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 11:13:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I said previously, there is no Chicago-Milwaukee transportation crisis.

Actually...

94 North-South Freeway Project: Plan Ahead, Drive Safely, Move Forward

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is proceeding with a safety reconstruction plan for the I-94 North-South corridor in southeast Wisconsin. The project runs from the Illinois state line to the Mitchell Interchange, and includes the WIS 119 Airport Spur to General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee. Construction begins in 2009 and will continue through 2016.

The project will improve safety, help ease congestion and modernize this important 35-mile transportation artery, including:

  • constructing an additional lane in each direction, for a total of eight lanes

So contrary to your claims, there IS (or at least was before the completion of this project) a Chicago-Milwaukee transportation crisis, and money was poured into more road construction instead into expanding and upgrading the existing intercity rail (it's a 90 minute ride by Hiawatha for 86 miles) to European standards of conventional rail (with express and frequent stopper services) and buses as feeders.

  • Money spent on this one highway project: $1.912 billion.
  • Stimulus money now allocated for the entire Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison corridor: $823 million.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 02:07:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In addition, the current stimulus package is not the first.

Daley breaks down Chicago's stimulus share - 3/12/09 - Chicago News - abc7chicago.com

According to City of Chicago bean counters, the city will get a little over $1 billion from the federal stimulus plan, which is aimed to jump start the economy.

Daley said the stimulus money will go to infrastructure projects, such as fixing the pothole-ravaged section of Chicago Avenue west of ...

... Here's how the city plans to use the stimulus money:

  • $86 million arterial streets
  • $241 million Chicago Transit Authority
  • $260 million Chicago Public Schools
  • $144 million Public Housing
  • $250 million would be divvied up into smaller grants


  • *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 02:18:40 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    There's also the $1.5b in TIGER grant (neat Bengal tiger stripe logo, stands for Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery). That distribution you noted above was the distribution according to the transport funds formula, which states were allowed to use for a range of things. Some money went to invest in transit, some went to repair bridges and roads ... a surprising amount in some states (like California) went to building new road projects, but others, like Illinois, spent their money more wisely.

    The TIGER roars for Rail and Mass Transit

    Rail and Transit Benefit, Highways Lose Out in TIGER Grant Distribution

    I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

    by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 03:24:30 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I don't know what it is with the anti-HSR sentiment on the American left. Can't you guys see that this mode of mass transport will create spillovers for the others?
    by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 02:12:22 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    My guess is that it's because it disproportionally benefits middle class white people.

    you are the media you consume.

    by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:48:08 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Well, upper-middle class people of all races and ethnic groups. You're getting closer to the truth.

    fairleft
    by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:51:55 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    meh.
    by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:58:39 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Not to mention that if you want to make that an issue, take a lesson from the French:

    European Tribune - Puente AVE

    ...marketing surveys showed that the public, while having been thoroughly exposed to the TGV through years of media publicity, was surprisingly misinformed about the details of its operation. Many French people believed that the TGV was an elite train for business travelers, with first-class seating only...
        To counteract such misapprehensions, the SNCF needed a carefully worded series of print ads...
    Jacob Meunier: On The Fast Track: French Railway Modernization and the Origins of the TGV, 1944-1983, page 209 @ Google Books

    ...The third key message was designed to publicize the SNCF's fare structure, namely that the price of a TGV ticket, first or second class, would be no higher than the price of a ticket on a regular train. "TGV. 260 km/h au prix de 160 km/h. Ça vous intéresse?" ("TGV. 260 km/h for the price of 160 km/h. Are you interested?"). This was a radical departure from the practice in the 1960s, when fast trains always required a surcharge be paid. The fourth key message emphasized accessibility to all: "En seconde comme en première, le TGV c'est du temps gagné pour tout le monde" ("In both second and first class, the TGV means time savings for everyone").
    On The Fast Track... page 210

    ...This commitment to "democratizing" high speed rail was reinforced by the Socialist government of the early 1980s. Indeed, under the Mitterrand presidency, the SNCF introduced a remarkable publicity slogan to promote the TGV: "Progress means nothing unless it is shared by all" (Le progrès ne vaut que s'il est partagé par tous").
    On The Fast Track... page 7



    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:00:42 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    It's of course about who is regularly using such trains, by and large upper-level business professionals and corporate managers, and NOT the price of tickets (which are subsidized anyway (basically more corporate welfare)).

    But interesting and encouraging that the common people have caught on to who benefits from the HSR, not them so much, so a PR campaign needed to be ordered up. Yeah, and I'm the right-winger for bringing up the 'who benefits' issue.

    fairleft

    by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:59:20 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    by and large upper-level business professionals and corporate managers

    You repeat this evidence-free claim the upteenth time despite several readers from Europe and Japan contracting you... and you complain that this debate looks like a fight?

    the price of tickets (which are subsidized anyway

    No, high-speed tickets aren't. It's local rail that gets operating subsidies.

    interesting and encouraging that the common people have caught on to who benefits from the HSR

    Huh, now you are spinning on overdrive. These were factually wrong notions about higher ticket price and first-class-only seating, which were extant before the TGV started, and as the quote says, were based on SNCF's policy on earlier fast trains that were first-class only with higher prices meant for businesss travellers (and all of which failed commercially for that reason), unlike the TGV.

    And the bulk of TGV travellers consisting of common people who switched from conventional expresses or cars to the TGV SudEst in the eighties certainly caught on to the benefits of HSR... again, don't you realise how ridiculous your claims are to those who actually travel on those trains?

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.

    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:36:03 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    No one has contradicted me on that assertion. If you want to debate honestly, blockquote and link to them.

    What is the basis of this assertion:

    And the bulk of TGV travellers consisting of common people who switched from conventional expresses or cars to the TGV SudEst in the eighties . . .

    Your apparent assertion is that there are tens of thousands of working class people commuting to and from work on the TGV?

    fairleft

    by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:53:21 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    No one has contradicted me on that assertion.

    Zwackus, marco (for Japan) and Migeru and I myself (for Europe) contradicted you on that based on own experience. And if you want to debate honetly, first support your outlandish claim yourself. And don't spin like this:

    thousands of working class people commuting to and from work

    Who said commuting? Long-distance travel is seldom commuting, but your unsupported claim was that only businesspeople and executives do it on the TGV.

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.

    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:59:35 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Your apparent assertion is that there are tens of thousands of working class people commuting to and from work on the TGV?

    That was my experience traveling in TGV second class.  Mostly middle class people and students traveling for a day or few days away.  In first class there are more business people.

    by njh on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 09:31:11 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Oh and

    Yeah, and I'm the right-winger for bringing up the 'who benefits' issue.

    As I told you already, I never called you right-winger. I called your specific quoted sources right-winger.


    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.

    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:37:03 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    None of them were. But tell me what you are referring to and why you think they were right-wing.

    fairleft
    by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:33:23 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    For a start I already covered your 'bipartisan' Glaeser...

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:36:27 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I think the argument is a bit like beating your kids in response to your husband abusing you. The billion pound elephants in the American room are the military budget and lack of taxes on the rich - in comparison $10 billion rail projects are small potatoes. Fighting this micro-battle is pointless; if America doesn't invest in infrastructure, education, and energy efficiency across the board, the ensuing downward spiral will render arguments over how to allocate scare social spending irrelevant as tax revenues fall off a cliff and we revert socially to a form of feudalism.

    you are the media you consume.

    by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:19:17 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The billion pound elephants in the American room are the military budget and lack of taxes on the rich

    And even ignoring those elephants, let's look at the stimulus package: $787 billion total, of this $8 billion for "high-speed" rail -- that's 1.0%. With the local rail ($8.5 billion) and Amtrak ($1.3 billion) parts, it's $17.8 billion for rail in total. Meanwhile, highways get $27.5 billion. At least airlines got only indirect support this time (tax breaks for loss-making companies).

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.

    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:50:38 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I'm not sure where you get $8.5 billion for local rail. Are you talking about the $8.4 billion for 'public transit', which includes, for example, bus purchases, fixed lane bus systems, High Occupancy Vehicle lanes and rail? Here's the New York Times summary of ground transportation funding in the stimulus

    Provide money for highways and bridges (Provide money to states to repair or construct highways or bridges, reallocating money that is not spent quickly):  $27.5 billion

    Invest in rail transportation (Expand passenger rail capacity and make grants for high-speed rail projects, including Amtrak.): $9.3 billion

    Invest in public transit (Provide grants to states for public transit infrastructure investment, reallocating money that is not spent quickly): $8.4 billion

    Invest in local transportation projects (Provide competitive grants for state and local transportation investments): $1.5 billion

    http://projects.nytimes.com/44th_president/stimulus/transportation

    Just slightly off-topic, here's an interesting article about the stimulus and funding mass transit:

    Fed to mass transit: Drop dead

    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/06/22/transit/

    Here's the severe crisis in local transit occurring in the U.S. right now:

    The United States of Transit Cutbacks
    Jobs and Pocketbooks Threatened as Transit Agencies Face Cutting Jobs and Service, Raising Fares

    In this four-minute segment, CNN uses Transportation for America's handy map for an in-depth look at some of the impacts of cutting back public transportation at a time when Americans are riding transit in record numbers.

    With public transportation ridership at record highs, transit agencies across the country are facing unprecedented fiscal crises in this economic downturn, with many considering layoffs, service cuts and fare hikes that are hitting at the worst possible time.

    Americans took nearly 10.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2008, a four percent increase over 2007 and the highest level since 1956, according to the American Public Transportation Association. Public transportation use has increased 38 percent since 1995 -- nearly triple the growth rate of the population of the United States. Contrast this with a 3.6 percent drop in vehicle-miles traveled in 2008 according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

    Incredibly, these record ridership numbers are being met with one trend at transit agencies from coast to coast: Service cuts, layoffs, and fare increases.

    http://t4america.org/transitcuts/

    That's the context for us commuters who rely on public transit, for the warped priority of getting a high-speed rail system up and running in the U.S. Surreal.

     

    fairleft

    by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:35:18 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I'm not sure where you get $8.5 billion for local rail.

    I used Wikipedia, which differs by $2 billion on the new equipment item, but you are right, buses are in this figure too.

    American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 - Wikipedia

    • $8 billion for intercity passenger rail projects and rail congestion grants, with priority for high-speed rail
    • $6.9 billion for new equipment for public transportation projects (Federal Transit Administration)
    • $6 billion for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure (Environmental Protection Agency)
    • $1.3 billion for Amtrak
    • $100 million to help public transit agencies
    • $750 million for the construction of new public rail transportation systems and other fixed guideway systems.
    • $750 million for the maintenance of existing public transportation systems

    here's an interesting article about the stimulus and funding mass transit

    You are mixing separate issues here: support for new construction and operation subsidies. And I note you keep fighting another mode of public transport (or two, conventional intercity rail being part of it), one not at all developed in the USA, rather than spending on road or those elephants in the room.

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.

    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:48:08 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I thought we might have a conversation over this issue here, but instead it is like a fight.

    fairleft
    by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:02:48 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    ... conversations, where when you spout bullshit unsupported by evidence you get called on it.

    I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
    by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:14:57 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    No, that's not the case here. Since I immediately and repeatedly cited evidence.

    fairleft
    by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:34:49 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    You still haven't presented any evidence for your claim that the Shinkansen is a failure or that most HSR passengers are businesmen and higher executives.

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:37:14 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Shinkansen tickets are more expensive than air travel, but I'm not suggesting it is 'not a success'. But I don't see how its existence as a practical matter added a great deal of value to Japanese people's lives. Of course, it's a point of national pride, and so on, and that has value.

    If you contend HSR passengers (is there any data on the TGV?) are working class folks and middle-middle-class commuters, show me that evidence. In any case, I'll keep looking. My common sense guess would be 'people on holiday', college students, and business professionals?

    fairleft

    by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:44:19 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    So working class folks and "middle-middle class" folks use of intercity transport only counts if they are commuting?

    If you contend HSR passengers (is there any data on the TGV?) are working class folks and middle-middle-class commuters

    Only commuting counts?

    Since the initial HSR in both Japan and France were on intercity lines reaching capacity limits, which investment in intercity transport capacity are you proposing instead of HSR?

    If you are suggesting that intercity transport is only a benefit to the upper-middle class, then supporting more expensive road and air transport capacity over more cost-efficient HSR transport capacity would be a policy of spending more on "upper-middle class transport".


    I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

    by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:25:30 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    show me that evidence

    1. It's you who first made a positive claim that was unsupported by evidence (not to mention any own experience), so this indignant demand from you is spurious.
    2. If you ever get to Europe or East Asia, board a high-speed train and look around. That's something many of us have done here (and most of us are middle-middle-class ourselves), and on second class, we didn't find ourselves surrounded by businessmen and executives. I mean, how many executives do you see below? (Top to bottom: inside a German ICE, boarding TGV passengers at two different stations, passengers waiting for a Spanish AVE in Barcelona, inside a Shinkansen)





    3. Here is the one HSR service that was actually touted as one meant for business (though that PR changed since with the focus on offering cheap tickets to compete with budget airlines), the Eurostar, still well below half:

    Running Like a Clock ... and Fast - New York Times
    "The Eurostars, which connect London with Paris and Brussels under the Channel, are arguably the premier business trains in Europe," said Mr. Morel of Rail Europe. "Last year they carried nearly eight million passengers," he said, and about 40 percent were business travelers.


    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 08:19:31 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Hey, the guy in the green hat in the last photo is the CEO of Shell.
    by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 08:33:48 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I can appreciate the argument; I just think you're setting yourself up to lose by framing it the way you do.

    you are the media you consume.

    by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:30:35 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    i am learning a lot of important stuff through this "fight".  and i am not one who is intrinsically drawn to this topic.  one of the valuable take-away's i am getting from this back and forth is a new awareness of differences between intra-city and inter-city transportation, how government funding is allocated differently for these, and how the respective needs for these two vary by country and region.  these notions are mere basics for you and others here, but it took this discussion for me to pay attention to their significance.  so thank you for that.

    The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
    by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:00:54 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Tempers do get a little short when your country and region are suffering a huge recession combined with major govt funding cutbacks in the middle of that recession. And when the Democrat in the White House is one of the main deficit hawks.

    fairleft
    by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:37:01 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    So, why went on that in a diary on China doing deficit spending?

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:38:55 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    With expensive tickets, that would be the situation indeed, but so it is for air travel too. (I note that I criticised the ticketing policy on the WuGuang line in the diary; there IS a class issue in China due to that. The nominally socialist country should have adopted the original TGV policy...)

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 04:45:13 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    ... interstate highways and airports to provide the same intercity transport capacity shift the benefit to non-white, non-middle-class people?

    This is where the argument falls down. Unless as Glaeser we are willing to presume infinitely flexible roads that never reach capacity constraints, the relative cost of providing the capacity needs to be taken into account when existing intercity transport capacity is not sufficient for the transport task that it is likely to face over the next twenty years.

    And that is setting to one side the fact that oil-dependency of the existing transport capacity.

    After all, its not as if the Chinese are investing in HSR instead of local transport - they are spending more on local transport than on HSR. And its not as if the Chinese are investing in HSR instead of improving conventional rail transport - as some so-called "progressives" are now calling for.

    They are moving ahead on all fronts.

    Meanwhile, with substantial unemployed resources and with an energy import dependent economy, we allow ourselves to be conned into playing "no, not your part of the sustainable transport puzzle, my part of the sustainable transport puzzle!!!" games.

    I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

    by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:32:26 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Long-term effect of endless propaganda.  Also, some "leftists" in the US don't think we deserve nice things.  They're basically nimby's.
    by paving on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:49:43 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Also, they are monotheistic. There has to be one best policy and all others are the spawn of the devil.

    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:50:32 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Why is this very large-scale construction project a 'leftist' cause? Very odd to bring ideology in. Why can't we just look at HSR and evaluate it for its 'value-added' overall benefit compared to other projects and uses of money? I think HSR does poorly. What in the world does that have to do with left-right? Is it because 'Obama likes it' so those against must be right? No? Tell me, I really want to know.

    fairleft
    by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:48:06 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    However why don't you compare HSR to other projects for providing intercity transport.

    You keep comparing HSR to local transit, "mass transit" though it seems highly unlikely that you really mean to limit it to mass transit as such.

    How does not providing HSR channel spending into local transit? The competitors for local transit funding is local road funding. Spend money on building roads urban expressways and expanding bridges for cars and providing urban parking and we both have less local transport funds for local transit and also by the subsidy for local driving undermine ridership on local transit.

    "Not spending" on HSR implies spending on intercity road and air. And since in most of the country adding to road and air capacity is an increasing cost activity, spending more money on intercity road and air than the spending we "avoided" spending on HSR.

    Providing the capacity for the California HSR system, under $50b in year of expenditure terms for Stage One, would cost over $80b in 2008 dollars in road and air infrastructure - so well over $100b in year of expenditure dollars.

    How does that decision make it easier for the state to afford to invest in local transit?


    I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

    by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 01:11:48 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Very odd to bring ideology in.

    You're the one who insists in framing your argument in a 'true leftist' frame, as well as a 'phallic symbol' frame.

    And look, this is not about Obama or about the US at all. In Europe, HSR works.

    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 02:53:40 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    a 'phallic symbol' frame.

    As well as "very large-scale construction project". Subway networks, part of what s/he supports, are on the same scale.

    And it's not like local rail cannot be a phallic symbol...





    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.

    by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 08:35:51 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    In fact, in a future diary on new local train EMUs I planned since last year's diaries on the current electric and diesel loco market in Europe, I planned to mention how these streamlined looks, which changed the image of local trains in the past decade, were inspired by high-speed trains (the German ICE1 to be precise -- it started with a prototype built by Bombardier's Talbot factory in Aachen).

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 08:47:50 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    And when it comes to subways the phallic symbols runs back and forth in tunnels all the time...

    A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
    by A swedish kind of death on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 10:15:38 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I was reading something to that effect about minarets and arches...

    You can't be me, I'm taken
    by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 10:19:29 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Uh-huh.

    Flying Beijing to Shanghai still cheaper

    But slower on overall journey and less reliable -- there is a reason high-speed rail beats air all around the world... And spewing out lots more CO2.

    What a waste of money

    High-speed rail is often VERY profitable.

    could've been much MUCH better spent on (okay, far less sexy) urban rail and subways

    High-speed rail and urban rail are not rivals but complement each other. And China is building the latter at breakcneck speed, too... Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai will have subway systems exceeding current leaders London and New York in network length, and at least a dozen other cities will have 100km+ networks.

    It's economic stupidity, as we all could've learned several decades ago from the Japanese experience.

    Care to elaborate? I thought the world's busiest railway is a great success and cash cow for the since privatised railways...

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.

    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 03:08:41 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I think you knew that your were stepping into the vipers nest here.  The pro-rail sentiment on ET is not exactly a secret.  So, how could you have done this better?

    1 - Graphs and Data.  Put it in your response, and let it make your argument.

    2 - Be clear about your political point and the context for which it is intended.  If your basic point is, "HSR spending in the US under the 2009 stimulus bill could have been better spent elsewhere," make that point.  Don't make it by attacking all HSR, everywhere, when you are really not prepared to do so.

    3 - If your real point is that all spending on technology is bad because it supports Big "Insert Bad Guy Here," or because the money is better spent on "Insert non-technological social spending priority here," you're better off just coming out and saying it, rather than trying to hide behind a veneer of economic arguments that you've really not mastered.  People here read linked sources, and are not intimidated by scary graphs.  And, be prepared for an unfriendly response, because this is a well known hub for HSR fans.

    3 - Don't shift into "All good leftist" arguments.  There are many kinds of leftists, and they reasonably disagree.  Further, purity arguments don't carry much weight around here.

    4 - Don't shift into gendered arguments designed to trigger liberal guilt - boys and their toys, etc.  That doesn't work on non-American readers, and it's a cheap trick in any context.

    by Zwackus on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:59:44 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    And, be prepared for an unfriendly response, because this is a well known hub for HSR fans.

    As a HSR fan, I take exception to that. I'm open to reasoned criticism (and in fact I criticise the execution of projects myself), I won't get unfriendly just for that.

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.

    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:52:06 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Don't shift into "All good leftist" arguments.

    For fairness, that may have been something I did, criticising the links to right-wing hacks.

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.

    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:53:30 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    On reflection, point 2 is the most important. fairleft could make that point in a separate diary. Or maybe even use or wait for someone to diarise this fluff in the WSJ which was sent to me, but I had no time to go debunking because of my other diary projects.

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:07:16 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    And please re-label the site for its pet 'gonna go postal on you if you disagree' issues and causes.

    fairleft
    by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:51:13 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I have yet to find the comments where you present any evidence. The closest I have seen is a side reference to a previous reference to the Republican mainstream economist Glaeser and his hack job ... oddly enough, he promised a follow-up to his series, but seems to have chickened out.


    I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
    by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:45:32 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    ... Glaeser, but as of yet no references to anyone where the conclusions follow from the assumptions and evidence presented.

    I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
    by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 01:14:24 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    fairleft:
    And please re-label the site for its pet 'gonna go postal on you if you disagree' issues and causes.

    This is nothing: you should try:

    (a) dissing the EU....

    (b) using the word 'Church';

    (c) telling people you're a smoker and a Gemini;

    (d) any combination of the above.

    :-)

    "The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

    by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:50:10 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    For a you should have added "reminiscent of the British press"

    Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
    by generic on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 09:16:39 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    It's a proven fact for which I'll need no further charts that believers in this EU church are whimsy-ass astrologist-hugging impotents, and that the true future lies in a healthy cigarette per day and occassionally smacking your wife on the booty.

    There.

    by Nomad on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 03:56:25 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I've had few laughs today - that was one of them...

    You can't be me, I'm taken
    by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 10:23:43 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    China is already investing massively in urban transit.

    (I dare say DoDo will be able to find a better overview than that...)

    by Gag Halfrunt on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:37:14 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Well find no, maybe except linking to UrbanRail; but I usually have to do my own research for my diaries because Wikipedia is incomplete on railways.

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:02:37 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    What a waste of money, that could've been much MUCH better spent on (okay, far less sexy) urban rail and subways. What is it with boy politicians and high-speed rail?

    Notwithstanding your other arguments here wich others have responded to, sexiness is a value in itself. The national pride inspired by massive construction projects is never accounted for, but it should not be underestimated. Neither the awe impressed on foreigners who see a well working system (be it infrastructure, health care, schools, defence or whatever) and who think "wow! why can't we do this?". Obviously, massive sexy infrastructure projects lend themselves particulary well to this. They are symbols. And symbols are important.

    Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

    by Starvid on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:19:05 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    We often disagree, but this is an important point. It's not just that symbols impress outsiders, they also impress and inspire the local population.

    Infrastructure that works well, is affordable, reliable and efficient, and is accessible to everyone is a key social benefit.

    A large part of the misery prevalent in the UK - and presumably the US - is created by infrastructure and services that fail to do this. People complain about rail here, because using rail can be a distressing experience. So can using the roads. So can using a bank, or a post office, and - in some cases - a doctor or a hospital.

    Socialism used to be about basic bare-bones provision of these services. This established a traditional view of two tier provision - socialised budget low quality services for the masses, high quality premium services for the rich.

    But the differentials aren't a given. That's one of many reasons why the 'It's for rich people' argument is wrong. A successful progressive culture narrows differentials by providing high quality services and environments for everyone. It's more realistic now to argue for making those high quality services as accessible as possible, deliberately excluding market space for supposedly premium delivery.

    by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 09:07:05 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    and urban rail at the same time. link:

    Operating Lines

    Anshan
    Beijing
    Changchun
    Chongqing
    Dalian
    Guangzhou
    Hong Kong
    Nanjing
    Shanghai
    Shenyang
    Shenzhen
    Tianjin
    Wuhan

    Under Construction

    Chengdu
    Harbin
    Hangzhou
    Hefei
    Kunming
    Lanzhou
    Macao
    Nanchang
    Qingdao
    Suzhou
    Weihai
    Wuxi
    Xi'an
    Zhengzhou
    Zibo

    Metros are also planned for Changzhou Metro * Datong Metro * Dongguan Metro * Fuzhou Metro * Guiyang Metro * Hefei Subway * Jiaxing Metro * Jinan Metro * Lanzhou Metro * Nanning Metro * Quanzhou Metro * Shijiazhuang Metro * Taiyuan Metro * Ürümqi Metro * Xiamen Metro * Xuzhou Metro * Macau LRT*

    by wu ming on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 10:09:55 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Isn't it amazing what an empire can accomplish when unencumbered with the institutional restrictions of democracy? Perhaps Churchill was wrong after all.
    by santiago on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:42:26 PM EST
    Now that finally someone brings up that theme, I note some progress on that field... While locals didn't get to protest the construction just because they wanted to stay put, construction of a section of the WuGuang line was held up for a week by locals who protested not being told where relocation housing has been allocated for them.

    You'll also notice in the second photo above fold that the line does have noise barriers for villages, even if modest.

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.

    by DoDo on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 05:55:45 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    is an institutional restriction of democracy.

    But your point is well taken:  How long will China's mandarins remain competent and conscientious enough to continue managing China's growth?

    The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

    by marco on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 06:20:06 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The problem isn't democracy vs. dictatorship. It's having a bad elite vs. a good elite.

    Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
    by Starvid on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 08:20:40 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Spain seems to be doing pretty well despite democracy, while the decades without democracy don't seem to have been that good for the rail system.
    by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 01:38:37 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Yes, Spain does pretty well, even after accounting for the country's small size.  (It was liberated from its empire some time ago.)
    by santiago on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 09:44:25 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    great mass transit, universal heath care, or anything else is because Americans allow their government to spend the nation's wealth on 'defense'.

    From Alternet: The new budget from the White House will push U.S. military spending well above $2 billion a day.

    Since Americans are unwilling to cut defense spending, they are left squabbling over a few pennies to be allocated at the country's remaining needs.

    China is well on its way to becoming a superpower, but how many years will it take before their economy is taken over by 'defense' spending?

    by Magnifico on Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 at 07:41:55 PM EST
    ... if our state governments were not similarly engaged in spending on a Prison-Industrial-Complex, we'd be able to provide the investment at the state level in productive infrastructure to allows us to sustain the unproductive government consumption of the Pentagon for another decade or more.

    Like the fading of Imperial Rome, there is more than one group of parasites on the body politic.

    I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

    by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 01:17:27 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Well, set aside that gratuitous opening sharing your personal opinion about china's "merchantilist" economic policies, I am interested in the following claim that one hears everywhere in a forum like this:

    "On the basis of some trial runs, trains designed, thoroughly tested and approved for a certain top speed are simply authorised to go "overspeed". Practically all the CRH sets mentioned are approved for, and scheduled to reach, 50 km/h more than their nameplate top speed -- and may exceed even that when the driver is in a hurry."

    and:

    "While the CRH3 and the latest CRH2 version in service are already 'oversped' to 350 km/h, the next 140-140 each ordered last year will have that speed as nominal speed -- 'allowing' overspeeding to the desired 380 km/h. (For the CRH2, design improvements include increased motor power, better ride comfort, and CRH3-like stronger nose structure to resist the wind load; but from the little I read, attempts to improve aerodynamics with a modified nose shape were less successful.)"

    Now on the face of it, these contradict the chinese sources, which mention a bunch of small scale twists and modifications - for the cars as well as for the tracks and signaling and control system - that supposedly make the train capable of running at 350km/h regularly. Unfortunately, the chinese sources do not go terribly deeply into the technical details, so that, in the face of contrary claims like yours, one cannot make for himself an independent judgment on the plausibility of their claim.

    By the same token though, blogs like this also do not provide much in way of technical detail - about what the chinese supposedly did to their imported Velaro prototypes. You mentioned that you have "read" something enabling you to draw conclusions about their success or the lack thereof of their modification of the aerodynamics of the nose. My question is simply this: can you share those sources that make you so confidently make the claims I quoted above, claims that are obviously disputed by what the chinese engineers are saying?

    by Ariel74 on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 06:28:18 PM EST
    Ariel74: Now on the face of it, these contradict the chinese sources

    Please provide links to these Chinese sources of yours.  Otherwise, how are we supposed to check what you are talking about?  (It doesn't matter if those sources write in Chinese.)

    The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

    by marco on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 07:41:42 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Try this link, for example:

    http://www.cnr.cn/china/gdgg/200912/t20091212_505750290.html

    (the first of six pages).

    The discussion there is by no means really technical, but does mention a host of modifications and "innovations" by the chinese engineers to ensure 350km/h is a safe and feasible proposition. Some typical passages are:

    "为了确保旅客舒适度,科研 0154;员结合空气动力学减阻设计 ;,为CRH3动车组设置了良好的密 ;封性能,通过对动车组车体 7668;密性试验,车体内部压力从 ;4000帕降低到1000帕的平均时间在75& #31186;以上,远远高于50秒的国际 6631;准。" (about the allegedly superior low level of air-leak for the train cabins, which improves comfort)

    "武广CRH3动车组首次集成了我国 ;自主研发的适合中国国情的 9990;界上最先进的CTCS-3级列车控制& #31995;统,在京津CTCS-3D系统基础上ᦁ 2;地面增加了无线闭塞中心RBC, ;车载ATP集成了CTCS2模块,增加了 6080;线接收模块。可以对列车前 ;方32公里范围内的线路和车辆& #24773;况进行自动报告和预警,ě 85;足时速350公里以上,动车组ඡ 2;车间隔3分钟以内的列车运行& #25351;挥和控制要求,配合动车ń 52;5公里内安全停车的能力,& #21487;以确保运行安全万无一失z 90;" (about signaling and control system)

    "北车唐山轨道客车有限责任 0844;司与国内科研机构合作进行 ;了空气动力学数值仿真计算 1644;风洞试验,结合的系统分析 ;和实验数据采集,优化了动 6710;组的空气动力学性能,对动 ;车组外形进一步的平滑设计 5292;增加外风挡,对受电弓导流 ;罩、空调导流罩、转向架裙 6495;和前端总成等车体空气动力 ;外形进行了优化设计,有效 0943;少动车组高速运行阻力,降 ;低了高速动车组对内以及对 2806;的噪音。通过武广客运专线 ;的实验证明,CRH3动车组实现了 ;在原有基础上降低空气阻力5&# 65285;的目标" (what they allegedly did to reduce drag by 5 percent, compared to the prototype).

    "北车唐山轨道客车有限责任 0844;司在优化了CRH3动车组的牵引 1995;统的参数设计,提升性能动 ;车组牵引性能的同时,进一 7493;优化了动车组的轮轨关系, ;使动车组在高速运行时有充 6275;的安全余量。优化了动车组 ;的制动特性,通过调整了制 1160;系统参数,使重联后的动车 ;组制动能力得到了进一步的 5552;升。动车组传感系统会提前 ;获知行进前方36公里处的险情& #24182;紧急制动,并保证动车组Ŋ 21;够在制动后5公里内安全停& #36710;" (optimization of the power system and of the "wheel-rail" relation to enhance safety and ensure breaking distance of 5km)

    "北车唐山轨道客车有限责任 0844;司通过自主创新,优化了动 ;车组的牵引系统的参数设计 0174;而提升了动车组牵引性能, ;使动车组8800kW的功率得到充分į 40;发挥,具有更好的启动加速& #21644;持续高速运行能力。
      通过仿真计算以及动应 147;测试的结果,进行了裙板、 设备仓地板等部件的强度优 270;,抗疲劳能力更优良,这种 优化已经达到诸如锁、螺栓 289;垫圈等细节部件,使动车组 在长距离持续高速运行中能 356;加安全可靠。" (improvement of acceleration, and various things they did to strengthen reliability and anti-fatigue properties of various components, leading to improved safety)

    It is true that this article, like most articles in chinese, does not give proper credit to Siemens technology. But that does not make the sweeping dismissal (of the sustainability and/or safety of CRH3's operational speed of 350km/h) found in German/English blogs like the one we are responding to any better. Since the author claims that he "read" things that lead him to conclusions directly contradicting the passages from chinese sources I have just quoted (e.g. the part about reducing drag), it would be very interesting to have a look at these other sources, wouldn't you think?

    by Ariel74 on Wed Feb 24th, 2010 at 05:36:32 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I realized only after I made the above post that chinese characters are not properly shown on this page. Sorry about. Please refer to the links provided at the beginning of my post.
    by Ariel74 on Wed Feb 24th, 2010 at 05:38:35 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    No worries.  afew figured out that line breaks are automatically inserted into large blocks of HTML text that contains no space characters, resulting in "breaks" in the HTML representing Chinese characters, which then show up as numbers in the page displayed.

    The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
    by marco on Wed Feb 24th, 2010 at 07:36:21 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    When posting diaries or comments there is an "HTML formatted" option that should be used in this cases. And "preview" also...

    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 24th, 2010 at 08:09:20 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Thanks very much.  

    Here is a rough edit of the Google translation of the first passage you cited:

    为了确保旅客舒适度,科研 154;员结合空气动力学减阻设计 ,为CRH3动车组设置了良好的密 封性能,通过对动车组车体 668;密性试验,车体内部压力从 4000帕降低到1000帕的平均时间在75&# 31186;以上,远远高于50秒的国际 631;准。

    In order to ensure passenger comfort, the researchers incorporated aerodynamic drag-reducing design and installed good sealability for the CRH3 motor train units.  They tested the air-tightness of the motor train body by reducing the internal pressure from 4000 Pa to 1000 Pa, for an average time of 75 seconds or more, much longer than the international norm of 50 seconds.

    解密武广铁路客运专线CRH3动车 组 Decrypting the WuGuang Passenger Rail Line CRH3 Motor Train Unit (p. 4)

    (Please correct it as you see fit, as neither my Chinese reading comprehension nor my engineering comprehension is up to the task.  I will try to translate the other passages as well in case others can grasp the original meaning through the rough translation.)

    The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

    by marco on Wed Feb 24th, 2010 at 07:33:20 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Setting aside that just mercantilism is viewed as criticism on my part and the question of what are the other forums like this one, I am very grateful for the link on the modifications applied on the CRH3 used on the WuGuang line (I read only of the windshield before). Sources in languages I speak are scarce on the CRH trains, so I gathered extra info from Chinese sources with Google translate (above all hasea.com) -- if you can link and/or translate further additions or corrections, I would be grateful.

    However, the CRH3 changes you quoted upthrwad do not address the issue of "overspeed" on the entire range of CRH vehicles (including earlier CRH3), which applied from the 2007 timetable change resp. the 2008 opening of the Beijing-Tianjin line, that is, well before the modifications. On the other hand, that range of modifications, and operational data I found since, do indicate that engineers got more serious about making the vehicles suitable for the speeds permitted earlier, and the trains are operated more realistically.

    On the issue of speed raises, let me first list the parts that are wear-and-tear-critical due to increased forces:

    • windshield,
    • pantograph,
    • axles,
    • bearings,
    • springs and their ports,
    • yaw dampers and their ports,
    • bogie frames,
    • cogwheels in the drive train,
    • sidewalls and isolation (tunnel entries).

    Also critical due to increased power:
    • motors,
    • cooling,
    • brakes.

    On one hand, the potential for tweaking of an existing design (as opposed to replacement with a full redesign) is different for these elements. On the other hand, the 'overclocking' of these elements without major modifications will lead to problems on different timescales, say motors can break down much earlier before axles show cracks.

    As for the testing side, to approve a vehicle for a certain speed, standard practice is to conduct a number of tests on a given amount of kilometres at 110% of that desired top speed, and braking tests, and a number of parameters (f.e., the mean of filtered lateral accelerations above the second bogie pivot) must stay below given limit values. Once that's achieved, standard practice is to paint the approved speed on the vehicle.

    Now, the CRH1 (A, B, E), CRH2 (A, B, E) and CRH5 have been ordered for and designed for 200 km/h, and apparently type-approval-tested for the same, as you see that speed painted on them (examples: CRH1-064E, CRH2-136E [on the right], a CRH5). Yet, all of them are operated at up to 250 km/h since 2007.

    The CRH2C (first batch), also called CRH2-300, nameplate speed 300 km/h, is operated up to 350 km/h since 2008, though it wasn't tested up to 385 km/h (CRH2-061C 22 April 2008 record: 370 km/h). What could be the consequences?

    • I interpreted the withdrawal of CRH2C from the Beijing-Tianjin line as an indication that there might be issues -- and now I found this Chinese forum, where a commenter says (if I can trust Google translate) that indeed maintenance and safety was the deciding factor.
    • Then again, after modifications of the motor, test unit CRH2-061C achieved 394.2 km/h on the ZhengXi line, and CRH2C first batch run full-throttle on the WuGuang line (but, if I read this trip report right via Google translate, there are some uneven running and internal noise issues).
    • Still, that the CRH2C first batch in original form wasn't really suited for 350 km/h regular service is supported by the development of the CRH2C second batch, above all with increased power, but also with stronger first bogie and reinforced structure to hold the windshield, originally scheduled for delivery in December. (The small delay might explain the use of the first batch on the WuGuang line as temporary measure.)

    You asked what I read about attempts to improve aerodynamics with a modified nose shape. You see that nose shape in the diary, and what I read was this, where the poster says (again if I can trust Google-translate) that aerodynamic tests showed that it wasn't better than the original nose shape.

    The CRH3 is a special case. The nameplate speed is 350 km/h for all vehicles (including the prototypes built in Germany, see f.e. CRH3-002A), which I guess had to do with the PR of the Beijing-Tianjin line opening.

    Now, one might imagine that the Velaro design should be suitable for 350 km/h, given that the Spanish version is for that speed. However, Velaro CN is wider and thus heavier and with a larger wind resistance, but has the same maximum power. Still, one CRH3 reached 394.3 km/h in a test run, so maybe it made the full 350+10% tests? However, you'll find reports sourced to Siemens engineers on the German Wikipedia indicating an official top speed of 300 km/h in August 2008 (and operation to 340). Speed profiles I saw trawling hasea.com (can't find it again, but this thread has trip
    report photos in line with that) showed 330 km/h max. in regular Beijing-Tianjin operation.

    Of the modifications mentioned in your link, I would be most interested in a precise translation on those affecting power output. The 6% improvement in drag (apparently achieved mostly by changing protruding parts) means only a 2% improvement in speed at the same power (due to air resistance running at the second power of speed, and power being speed times force), that is, f.e. same power needed for 336.5 km/h instead of 330 km/h. However, the CH3 maximum of 8800 kW remained unchanged, so they must have improved continuous output, mybe with better cooling?

    On the other hand, I tried to find WuGuang line speed profiles at hasea.com. Didn't find any, but I found photo-documented trip reports, which showed that 350 km/h is reached but not maintained continuously, and a thread where they say that timeplans were laid out for 330 km/h max. That sounds like a more realistic and equipment-friendly operation.

    Finally, there are the new versions code-named CRH2-350 and CRH3-350. I was hard on these too, because 380 km/h max is planned, even though sources (f.e. Chinese Wikipedia) say that tests are planned only up to 400 km/h, not 418 km/h. On the other hand, if their planned operation is similar, that is 380 km/h is reached only in spurts, the wear & tear and other effects would be less.

    One finds a detailed list of the planned modifications and research for the CRH2-350 and CRH3-350 here. It's pretty wide-ranging (including the modification of the CRH2 cross-shape), so there is a serious effort, which is reassuring. One critical component I will note though is the pantograph [which is based on a standard German design both on the CRH2 and CRH3, the Japanese pantograph was not imported]: this is the main source of noise at those speeds, and also of wear, but the list only seems to mention optimisation of the existing design, rather than a replacement with a single-arm pantograph with active-regulated pressure on the catenary. It might be noise-relevant that they don't plan to change the CRH3 nose shape.

    :: :: :: :: ::

    Two more comments

    • Could you or marco translate what's in this thread? It seems to talk about a speed restriction to 250 km/h on the ZhengXi line, but the Google translate is rather unclear, so I didn't mention it in the diary.

    • There is a curious mistake repeated across several government news releases, including your link: the addition of 100 km to the length of the WuGuang line. (I had to check several sources to ascertain myself that the lower figure should be in the diary, f.e.
    this hasea forum post.)

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Thu Feb 25th, 2010 at 06:04:58 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Unfortunately the photos from hasea.com don't work as direct links.
    by Gag Halfrunt on Thu Feb 25th, 2010 at 06:23:07 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Damn. I think I linked only these four pictures:

    CRH1-064E, CRH2-136E: thread link, cutouts of photos with indicated top speed:

    CRH5-059A: thread link, shrunk cutout of photo of indicated speed:

    CRH3-002A: thread link, shrunk photo of indicated speed:



    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.

    by DoDo on Thu Feb 25th, 2010 at 08:37:14 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    thanks for your reply. I find your interpretation of most of your sources very problematic. Let me go through them one by one:

    1) "you'll find reports sourced to Siemens engineers on the German Wikipedia indicating an official top speed of 300 km/h in August 2008 (and operation to 340)"

    I think no one is disputing that the export prototype is designated by the German engineers to have maximum operational speed lower than 350km/h. The question was rather whether Chinese engineers simply took these trains, and put a different label on them, and let them, de jure, run at a higher speed for which they are not designed.

    The chinese sources say that that is not what the chinese engineers did. They, according to these sources, modified the prototype to produce trains that are in fact capable of running at 350km/h in commercial operation.

    2) "Speed profiles I saw trawling hasea.com (can't find it again, but this thread has trip report photos in line with that) showed 330 km/h max. in regular Beijing-Tianjin operation."

    This pertains to the Beijing-Tianjin line, which I have also read/heard about. I do get the impression that the chinese were making claims ahead of time. But see below.

    3) "I found photo-documented trip reports, which showed that 350 km/h is reached but not maintained continuously,"

    I don't know how a handful of photos can "show" that a particular speed is not maintained continuously. For that you need a video.

    4) " a thread where they say that timeplans were laid out for 330 km/h max. That sounds like a more realistic and equipment-friendly operation."

    If you have read/translated the whole thread you quoted, you'd know that what the poster said was much more than this. He/she spoke of models of the "second-phase", which, according to him/her, have just come out. And according to him/her, models of the "second-phase" are capable of running at 350km/h, whereas models of the "first-phase" (to which both CRH2c and CRH3c apparently belong) were only capable of running at 330km/h.

    The poster's main question was: given that these new models just came out, are they going to mix the models from these two different phases, and let both run on the Wuguang line, even though the new models are capable of the higher speed of 350km?

    So the whole post does not question the 350km/h commercial speed, rather, it confirms it.

    5) "You asked what I read about attempts to improve aerodynamics with a modified nose shape. You see that nose shape in the diary, and what I read was this, where the poster says (again if I can trust Google-translate) that aerodynamic tests showed that it wasn't better than the original nose shape."

    Again, the poster seems to say something completely different. First, the whole thread about CRH2 series, not about CRH3 series. The article I quoted, where the aerodynamic improvement was mentioned, is exclusively about CRH3 series.

    Second, the poster appears (I say this because I am not able to view the pictures he attaches to his post) to put some pictures of an improved nose of CRH2, and then he writes (about this I am certain) that "an modified nose before this version was abandoned, because tests showed that it was not better than the japanese original aerodynamically" (roughly). So what was not successful, according to the poster, was the modification before the one he was showing with a picture. In other words, there were at least two modifications, the earlier one was said to be not better than the japanese original. Nothing was said about the later modification.

    So all in all, we should distinguish two issues:

    A) did the chinese take trains designed for a lower commercial speed and made them, by fiat as it were, run at a higher commercial speed?

    B) do the chinese in fact have trains that are capable of running at 350km/h commercially?

    I think there is no evidence whatsoever the answer to A) is yes, and that is what mystifies me about your original blog (and many others similar to yours). All the chinese sources - both the government ones as well as the one's you are relying on from chinese fans - indicate otherwise.

    With regard to B) I think it indeed seems likely that the chinese were making claims ahead of themselves: they only managed to create models capable of running at 330km/h when they claimed back in 2008 that they have trains running at 350km/h commercially.

    But there seems to be - among the chinese fans whom you linked - a reference to a new set of models (those of the "second-phase") that have just come out, and that are indeed capable of the 350km/h speed they announced almost two years ago.

    Thanks by the way for the this reference:

    "One finds a detailed list of the planned modifications and research for the CRH2-350 and CRH3-350 here. "

    very informative.

    by Ariel74 on Thu Feb 25th, 2010 at 02:51:28 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    1) ... I think no one is disputing that the export prototype is designated by the German engineers to have maximum operational speed lower than 350km/h.

    330 km/h is lower than 350 km/h... But the trains were designed for 300 km/h (see page 2 of Siemens brochure; they even show the traction effort curves).

    They, according to these sources, modified the prototype to produce trains that are in fact capable of running at 350km/h in commercial operation.

    You are speaking about your source on modifications done by the end of 2009 for the WuGuang line. The approval for 350 km/h is valid from August 2008, and actual operation was above the 300 km/h design speed from the start too. In addition, I went into the details on why the modifications listed don't appear to be sufficient for a raise of permanent top speeds from even 330 to 350 km/h -- so, with your choice of words, the operation in the 330-350 km/h band discussed further below can be seen as CR still making claims a bit ahead of time, with even the latest version, which appears to be suited for permanent running at 335-340 km/h.

    2) ... I do get the impression that the chinese were making claims ahead of time.

    An approval for 350 km/h, even painted on the side of the CRH3, is not mere "making claims". Also, the Wikipedia comment says 340 km/h for August, so 330 km/h is already a reduction.

    3) ... I don't know how a handful of photos can "show" that a particular speed is not maintained continuously.

    Have you even looked at the links? The photographed displays also show the time. One of them shows speed kept around 330 km/h for a few minutes before the push for 350 km/h, and then writes in text that speed fluctuated in the 330-350 km/h band thereafter. Another guy wrote in his travel report that he missed the opportunity to photograph hitting 350 km/h because he was just then in the toilet.

    4) ... He/she spoke of models of the "second-phase", which, according to him/her, have just come out.

    Read my comment again, I did write about the CRH2C second batch... The first were planned for delivery in December, but the first finally came out at the end of January (see CRH2-091C further down in this comment). The line was operated from December -- with the CRH2C first batch.

    So the whole post does not question the 350km/h commercial speed

    No one questions the 350 km/h commercial speed... the question is whether it is held continuously. (As an example of similar operation, the predecessors of the Siemens Velaro, the German ICE3, had timeplans laid out for 300 km/h max, but being trains approved for 330 km/h, they were allowed to reach that speed when late.) And if only 330 km/h is held continuously, then that is a more equipment-friendly operation, and means to me that the Chinese railways aren't really reckless -- which was your original point!

    5) ... the whole thread about CRH2 series, not about CRH3 series

    Um, my claim on the less successful nose shape modification which you challenged pertained to the CRH2 series, not the CRH3 series.

    So what was not successful, according to the poster, was the modification before the one he was showing with a picture.

    Thanks, that sounds better. [If you or marco are still reading this, could you please give me a complete translation of that comment?] At any rate, not even this nose shape was used for the CRH2C 2nd batch (but the classic head with some very modest external modifications, see for example here, reproduced below for you), so if this nose shape proves successful, it will be CRH2-350 stuff.

    I think there is no evidence whatsoever the answer to A) is yes... With regard to B) I think it indeed seems likely that the chinese were making claims ahead of themselves

    Well... whichever way you say it, if the CRH3 were good for 330 km/h only, then the approval for 350 km/h was by fiat. And, as I indicated, some problems with operation even at 330 km/h may show itself only in a few years: I would watch out for cracks in axles and bogie frames in particular.

    Now, this is just the CRH3. The CRH2C first batch seem to have been unfit for even 330 km/h in 2008. And then there are also the 200 km/h vehicles oversped to 250 km/h. Of these,

    • the Bombardier Regina (CRH1A, CRH1B) has a similar cross-section as the originals, but are a slower-speed design;
    • the CRH5 are, like the CRH3, a wider and heavier version of a faster (250 km/h) design (one that had a number of variants with axle problems!);
    • the slower CRH2 variants are structurally fit for the higher speeds (the E2-1000 run at 275 km/h after all), and from the little I know, the CRH1E (Bombardier Zefiro-250) too, for these, problems might arise in engines and the drive train only.

    So looking at all types, the answer to A) is a definite yes.

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Sat Mar 6th, 2010 at 01:36:37 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Well, I can't say the same about all your nitpicking as you said of mine :-)

    Ad 1) Fine. But I was simply distinguishing two things: the designated speed of Velaro prototypes being lower than the speed at which Chinese CRH3 ran (whatever that speed is)  vs. the question how they did it, by fiat or by optimization done on the prototypes.

    It's completely irrelevant whether the speed-discrepancy is 300 vs. 330 or 300 vs. 350 or 330 vs. 350 or what have you.

    It is also true, it seems to me, that there the more recent generation(s) of CRH3 have experienced far more extensive modifications and optimizations. (But see below, especially the article cited at the end my post).

    Now as I was not privy to the engineering processes at the Chinese Railway Ministry, I can at best surmise what happened during those 8 and 1/2 weeks between these two announcements (good catch by the way). Mr. Zhang's boast (which I take it at face value, as true) was that various "parameters" of the test results for CRH3 of that (first) generation was better than their German Velaro counterparts, despite handicaps such like thicker air and wider train body. Presumably, these parameters would include things like noise, stability, air-tightness of cabins etc. It may simply be that, after the tests reviewed that the chinese CRH3s behave a lot better at 300km/h than Velaro counterparts at the same speed, they decided to have the CRH3s run at a higher speed, initially at 350km/h. But later on experience showed that 330km/h was a better choice.

    The key argument here is that, unless the chinese decided to optimize what the Siemens offered them from the get go, they would not be achieving better "parameters" in tests under more adverse conditions than in Germany.

    It is true that I don't know the extent of the optimization in the first generation CRH3. But the point was that they must have been doing that from the very beginning. Otherwise, their better test results under more adverse conditions would have been a pleasant cosmic accident. (For a second argument about CRH3, backed by another source, see the article cited below. The article appears to say that the chinese changed the shape of the pantograph on CRH3 to optimize its areodynamic properties).

    Ad 2) Ok, they are doing more than "making claims", and the point being? (see the discussion above).

    Ad 3) Well, I did check all your citations, including this one. All I saw was a handful of pictures. I thought your original claim was that the photos themselves show 350km/h is not maintained continuously, which is obviously absurd. Can you give the reference to the toilette episode again?

    Ad 4) First of all, I was talking about continuously maintained operational speed, if that was not clear to you. The overall point of the post you cited was that models have come out that are capable of the 350km/h speed (yes, continuously maintained). It is true that the post also mentions the scheduling, saying that it is made for slower operational speed.

    But the problem is that you are taking one element of the post to draw a conclusion (that the chinese CRH3s are not suitable or capable, as a matter of fact, of running at 350km/h) that is contradicted by the  entire post, at least partially (for, though your conclusions might be true of the older generation CRH3, it is not for the newer ones).

    My main point here is just to point out the misleading way in which you are using your sources.

    Now about the main substantial point of disagreement between us - whether the chinese carried out modifications and optimizations on their first generation CRHs (since you seem to agree that the later generations have sustained substantial modifications) - there are more evidence than Mr. Zhang's boasting, which was perhaps only an indirect indication. Here is an article where you can read directly some details of the early modifications the chinese engaged in:

    http://www.fyjs.cn/bbs/htm_data/159/1003/238886.html

    For illustration, I will just quote one sentence: "2007年底,项目攻关取得突破, ;当月下线的首列时速350公里动 车组,轴重变成15吨,问题迎&# 20995;而解。"

    What that means is that by the end of 2007, way before CRH2s were running on Beijing-Tianjin HSR line, the chinese engineers had successfully changed the weight of the axle from the 14 tons of the Japanese prototype to 15 tons, in order to make the trains stable at the speed of 350km/h.

    Now if that is not significant modification, and indeed of the first generation CRH2, I don't know what is.

    All in all, I have not seen anything (sources or arguments) credible that you provided indicating that the answer to my question A) is anything but a resounding NO.

    by Ariel74 on Mon Mar 15th, 2010 at 12:41:33 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    A small correction of what I wrote:

    "Now if that is not significant modification, and indeed of the first generation CRH2"

    I meant of course the first generation CRH2 designated to maintain the speed 350km/h. The very first generation of CRH2 appeared even earlier, of course.

    by Ariel74 on Mon Mar 15th, 2010 at 02:18:34 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Two more points:

    1) about the wider body of the chinese CRH3: there is a video where the vice-head-engineer of the chinese railway ministry (???) Zhang Shuguang boasts on board the newly minted CRH3 on the Beijing-Tianjin line, in front of some Siemens engineers, that the chinese achieved "better parameters" despite the higher air density on the chinese line (than in Germany) and the wider car-body. The scene occurs around 1:41 in:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWwQsRWtveI

    What this means is that clearly they were making modifications to optimize from the very beginning, otherwise one could reason simply the way you did, from the fatter train body (and the thicker air in china) to the implausibility of higher speed.

    2) Your reference to the "Planned modifications and research" is a blog discussion in July 2009, about a book that was then already published (by the very Mr. Zhang Shuguang in the video mentioned above). So it is not clear if the modifications and research goals are still "planned", or are already (partially) realized.

    by Ariel74 on Thu Feb 25th, 2010 at 03:23:21 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Zhang Shuguang boasts on board the newly minted CRH3

    I posted an English-dubbed version of the news clip with the boasting Zhang Shuguang in an earlier diary of mine, though without that particular boasting, here it is:

    What this means is that clearly they were making modifications to optimize from the very beginning

    Well, without basis in any details, that's a rather far-fetched assumption from what you yourself call boasting. You are assuming extensive modifications in the timespan of a few weeks by engineers without prior experience with these technologies and this speed region. Furthermore, that boasting was on a record run, which doesn't say anything about regular service - limiting top speed in actual service to 340, then 330 km/h is more instructive.

    So it is not clear if the modifications and research goals are still "planned", or are already (partially) realized.

    The CRH2-350 and CRH3-350 are code-names for the new batches ordered in March and September 2009, to be put in service 2011-12. So no, this is not about stuff already applied in the existing sets, but about on-going research.

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.

    by DoDo on Sat Mar 6th, 2010 at 12:53:25 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    You are assuming extensive modifications in the timespan of a few weeks

    8½ weeks if counted between the 26 April start of the Beijing-Tianjin test runs and the 24 June record run, 3 months if counted until the opening of the line.

    BTW, even in March that year, the design top speed for even the Chinese-built trains was given as:

    China-made bullet train to link Beijing, Tianjin in Aug - The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

    The first China-made bullet train designed to run at 300 kilometers per hour has completed a test run and will be in service between Beijing and Tianjin in early August, a railway official said on Sunday.


    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Sat Mar 6th, 2010 at 02:20:49 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Sorry to be nitpicking, but I forgot another erroneously interpreted/relayed reference in your reply:

    6) "Finally, there are the new versions code-named CRH2-350 and CRH3-350. I was hard on these too, because 380 km/h max is planned, even though sources (f.e. Chinese Wikipedia) say that tests are planned only up to 400 km/h, not 418 km/h."

    The passage you are referring to in the Wiki article says:

    "最高試驗速度400km/h以上"

    which means: highest test-speed above 400km/h.

    NOT : .... up to 400km/h

    by Ariel74 on Fri Feb 26th, 2010 at 10:24:39 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Good nitpicking, but the error was in my sentence, not my reading. IOW  tests are planned only above 400 km/h, not 418 km/h.

    BTW, I ask you or marco again: could you translate for me the 250 km/h reference (for the first CRH2C second batch on the ZhengXi line) in this thread?

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.

    by DoDo on Sat Mar 6th, 2010 at 01:42:14 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I love these photos.  Thank you for posting.
    by eloise (Eloise) on Wed Feb 24th, 2010 at 02:06:14 PM EST
    fantastic thread. Thanks to all contributors for all the substantial info.

    In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
    by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Feb 25th, 2010 at 05:08:56 PM EST


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