The Chinese high-speed rails
The Chinese high-speed rails have a quality all on its own, because it’s so massive.
There are more than twice as many high-speed trains in China as the rest of the world combined. Tier 1 cities like Beijing have a couple hundred high-speed trains stopping at the city every day.
And the Chinese Spring Festival is just a mad house - an estimated 3 billion trips take place within a 2-week window. It would be the equivalent of every American taking 10 trips during Christmas, or every European taking 5 trips during Christmas. All the train tickets are gone within like 10 seconds after they become available.
Firstly, China’s technology on building the railway is leading the rest of the world and there is no sign that any other country could surpass China’s position in near future. Secondly, China’s trains are based on Japanese, German and French models. At last, the scale of Chinese high-speed train is unthinkable to other countries which has high-speed train network.
I had my first opportunity to ride the high-speed trains last week when I had a business meeting in Zhengzhou. As someone who grew up with a disdain for public transportation (not sure why the US hates it so much), I was dreading the experience. I pushed hard to fly, but was told that it would be much better if I took the train. The train was amazing. I had traveled on an Amtrak train before in the US, and hated how slow it was and how many stops there were. Chinese high-speed trains are on a different level. The train was amazing. I had traveled on an Amtrak train before in the US, and hated how slow it was and how many stops there were. Chinese high-speed trains are on a different level.
First, when I say they are high-speed, I mean they are high-speed. The trains are clean and the seats are huge. There are ample power outlets and you can’t even feel how fast the train is moving. If there were no windows, I wouldn’t be able to tell when we were stopped or when we were traveling at 300 km/h—it is thatsmooth. The trains are very advanced and the stations are new. The terminal in Zhengzhou looked like you could fit a million people in it even though it isn’t a Tier-1 city. It had shops and a food court and the trains would silently pull in and out of the station perfectly on schedule. The high-speed trains are incredible.I’m traveling again this week by train and I’m excited.