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As for a look beyond high-speed rail... China's high-speed rail construction on crack has been described as a bubble. From a macro-economic viewpoint, it is certainly desirable to at least prevent the collapse of the construction industry once most lines have been constructed already.

In parallel with the high-speed boom, China also continued with the rapid construction of conventional freight-and-passenger mainlines. This certainly won't stop for some time: Western China in particular has a still underdeveloped transport infrastructure.

Also in recent years, Chinese cities started subway construction on crack. While it is relatively well known that Shanghai now has the world's longest metro network and Beijing is not that far behind, three more cities plan networks rivalling those of New York and London and two dozen more are busy boring tunnels or building elevated lines for their networks. In a few years, most cities with multi-million populations will have heavy-rail rapid transit. This construction frenzy is poised to last at least until 2020.

If I could advise Chinese leaders, I would suggest another sector to extend rail construction well into the future: light rail. While light rail can serve as a(n especially orbital) distributor in cities with metros, it can even be the backbone of transit systems for cities with a population down to a hundred thousand – in China, that could mean a potential demand for hundreds of systems.

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

by DoDo on Thu Jun 30th, 2011 at 04:57:35 PM EST

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