Which Country is Leading the High-Speed Rail Revolution?

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LE Greys

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Spain is debatable, considering the current state of their public finances, and China doesn't exactly have a great safety record. Provided the two American projects actually get built, then the Florida one has a lot of potential, being aimed almost directly at Jacksonville, with Savannah the other side of the state line, Charleston beyond that and onwards to Washington (fingers crossed). Still, with the current rate of construction, I'd say China is leading the way, provided they keep going.
 

jopsuk

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provided they stop cutting safety corners too...

France and Japan are still expanding their mature high-speed networks.
 

ChristopherJ

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France and SNCF without a doubt.

France has a domestic TGV network of 10 high speed lines with 2 more presently under construction, as well as an international TGV portfolio to Great Britain (Eurostar), Belgium (Thalys), The Netherlands (Thalys), Switzerland (Lyria), Germany (Alleo/Thalys), Italy (previously Artesia - now only daytime trains), Luxembourg and Spain, including postal freight services for La Poste - the national French post office. No other high speed network in the world is as complex or as integrated as the TGV.

SNCF is a major leader who are contracted to develop, build and maintain high speed networks around the world - they was actively involved in the construction of HS1 here.
 
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Bald Rick

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Having just reurned from Italy, including a visit to the control centre for the Italian high speed network in Bolgna, I was genuinely surprised about how much of a network they have and also have planned. There is now high speed line from Milan - Bologna - Florence - Rome, with more being built.

The Bologna to Florence stretch is approx 75kmlong of which 71km is in tunnel. Bologna station is being totally rebuilt with high spped lines in tunnel 24 metres below ground - the lines have just opened but the high speed station won't be ready for another year. But Milan - Rome is now 3h, and has taken big market share from the airlines.

The Bologna - Milan stretch, it was claimed, is the first railway anywhere in the world to be commissioned straight on to ETCS L2. And seeing the display on the line controller's desk showing train ID, ETCS mode and speed was pretty impressive.

Network in planning to go to Rome - Napoli / Bari, also Milan - Verona - Venice.

I elected not to ask how they were going to pay for it...
 
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Most of the 'high speed' lines being planned seem to be 155 mph which is hardly high speed at all. With ETRMS, significant parts of the ECML and some of the WCML would be 155mph capable.
 

johnnychips

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I elected not to ask how they were going to pay for it...
Quite; and the same for Spain. Can't speak for Italy, but they are cancelling expansions to Barcelona's Metro. Once the Barcelona-France AVE is finished they may have to take a break for a few years while things pick up.
 

WatcherZero

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Spain is debatable, considering the current state of their public finances, and China doesn't exactly have a great safety record. Provided the two American projects actually get built, then the Florida one has a lot of potential, being aimed almost directly at Jacksonville, with Savannah the other side of the state line, Charleston beyond that and onwards to Washington (fingers crossed). Still, with the current rate of construction, I'd say China is leading the way, provided they keep going.
Most of the american 'High Speed' projects are at speeds slower than Britains classic main lines and are just glorified state commuter networks.

I would say the most progress would be in the Germany-France-Italy triangle with a nod out to Spain.
 

David

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Most of the american 'High Speed' projects are at speeds slower than Britains classic main lines and are just glorified state commuter networks.
That maybe the case, but they are aiming to cut domestic flights and get cars off the roads by offering city center to city center services and a reasonable commuter network as well.

I seem to recall the Californian proposals would link most of their major cities together with 155mph lines and an extensive commuter network around each city. Their aim was to take a lot of cars off the roads and stop internal flights with people opting to take the train instead. This was from a few years ago though, so I've no idea what's happened since then.
 

LE Greys

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That maybe the case, but they are aiming to cut domestic flights and get cars off the roads by offering city center to city center services and a reasonable commuter network as well.

I seem to recall the Californian proposals would link most of their major cities together with 155mph lines and an extensive commuter network around each city. Their aim was to take a lot of cars off the roads and stop internal flights with people opting to take the train instead. This was from a few years ago though, so I've no idea what's happened since then.
There may be a bit of a distance barrier there. An interstate high-speed network would have a lot of trouble keeping up with aircraft, and might be a bit irregular, which was what the JetTrain was about, since lowish (1tph or less) frequencies would be likely, so electrification would not be economical.

That does raise the question, is there a distance limit for high-speed rail, say 2,000 miles, which would be ten hours even with a 200mph average (and that doesn't account for intermediate stops).
 

HSTEd

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That does raise the question, is there a distance limit for high-speed rail, say 2,000 miles, which would be ten hours even with a 200mph average (and that doesn't account for intermediate stops).
Most estimates say roughly 4 hour journey times at ~320kph are where they are no longer competitive with flights, although that may have changed with the newly increased security at airports.

However this orthodoxy has been damaged by the fact we now have high speed (well 250kph) sleepers appearing in China.
 

Uzair

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Not sure about the leader of HSR but I am confident in saying America is definitely not it. There are a number of articles in The Economist I have read criticising the American High Speed Rail service.
 

LE Greys

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I wouldn't go as far as the top! :)
If we build all the high-speed lines we really need (two to Scotland, one to the East Midlands and one to South Wales/Plymouth) then we could easily reach 2,000 miles of >200mph route mileage. With the 10,072 current route miles, that would mean that roughly one sixth of our route mileage was high-speed. That would put us fairly high, although I don't have figures for anywhere else.
 

WestCoast

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If we build all the high-speed lines we really need (two to Scotland, one to the East Midlands and one to South Wales/Plymouth) then we could easily reach 2,000 miles of >200mph route mileage. With the 10,072 current route miles, that would mean that roughly one sixth of our route mileage was high-speed. That would put us fairly high, although I don't have figures for anywhere else.
Currently, there's 1,656 miles of operative HSR lines in Spain (out of a total of 9499 route miles), that's actually about 380 miles ahead of France. Spain has the longest high speed network in Europe and is second only to China on the world scale
 

WatcherZero

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Its really not that surprising if you look at a map of Spain, theres literally nothing inbetween the major cities to make slower stopping services worth while.

 

brianthegiant

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Trust me the Germans are less than pleased about the prospect of ultimately paying for all of these brand new (and under ultilised) high speed lines.
Are you sure? high technology engineering is Germany's export success. Lending money to other people which they spend on your cars (VW,BMW,Merc,etc) and trains (Siemens,etc), might be quite a shrewd business plan under all the hype.

Similar idea to the US marshall plan, lend people money which they spend on your own exports.
 

RichmondCommu

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Are you sure? high technology engineering is Germany's export success. Lending money to other people which they spend on your cars (VW,BMW,Merc,etc) and trains (Siemens,etc), might be quite a shrewd business plan under all the hype.

Similar idea to the US marshall plan, lend people money which they spend on your own exports.
Oh yes I'm very sure! The construction of high speed railways is very expensive and seldom involves German contractors. And companies such as Alstom ensure that Siemens have plenty of competition.

I have a half German son and at the present time many Germans are not happy with the likes of Greece and further down the line Italy and Spain. All of whom are buiding high speed networks with no one using them!
 

WestCoast

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I wouldn't say no one is using them, in fact that's way off the mark. Can't speak for Italy, but the high speed line from Madrid to Barcelona has taken many cars off the road and planes out of the sky. That's just one example.

Spain is a very 'spread out' country and it seemed a great idea in the good economic conditions to develop a High Speed network. People need to travel between cities and it's brought Madrid to Malaga down from a 6h+ coach ride to a 2h30m train ride.

The geography of France and Spain make them especially suited to high speed rail, where high population density countries such as Germany, BeNeLux and indeed the UK are less suited in many ways (due to the large centres of population between cities).

Infrastructure spending is tangible (rather than a lot of things that, ahem, Greece has spent money on) and will increase inward investment into a country, especially when economic conditions improve.
 
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brianthegiant

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Oh yes I'm very sure! The construction of high speed railways is very expensive and seldom involves German contractors. And companies such as Alstom ensure that Siemens have plenty of competition.

I have a half German son and at the present time many Germans are not happy with the likes of Greece and further down the line Italy and Spain. All of whom are buiding high speed networks with no one using them!
On the flip side, I think the countries in the centre of Europe aren't so keen on having everyone else's truck pollution passing through, esp Germany and Switzerland. I think this is a key driver for things like the EU Ten-T fund and projects like the Gotthard base tunnel. But yes I can see how they'd rather the investment nearer the core, I suppose why Ten-T funding is for projects serving 3 or more countries. (Not quite sure how we got it for Northern leccy project..).
 

Anon Mouse

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I would probably say China due to the freightning level of development and construction, I'm currently in China at the moment (actually using a high speed train from Chengdu to Chongqing tomorow) and everywhere (at least in Sichuan) there seems to be some high speed line under construction or new high speed line station opening. There is even some interesting International high speed lines planned such as a tunnel from Mainland China to Taiwan and a high speed line through Yunnan province and across into Laos and ultimatly Thailand and also Maglev technoligy in daily operation connecting Shanghai Pudong Airport to Downtown and proposals for more Maglev routes.

I would not discount Russia either, there is a long distance Maglev planned from Moscow to (I think) Vladivostock and their high speed network is expanding.

Of course there is a lot of development in Europe too, in Spain, Germany and France especially and their technology is being exported to other Countries such as China, Taiwan and Russia and of course remember the developments in Eastern Europe!
 

DiscoStu

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I would probably say China due to the freightning level of development and construction, I'm currently in China at the moment (actually using a high speed train from Chengdu to Chongqing tomorow) and everywhere (at least in Sichuan) there seems to be some high speed line under construction or new high speed line station opening. There is even some interesting International high speed lines planned such as a tunnel from Mainland China to Taiwan and a high speed line through Yunnan province and across into Laos and ultimatly Thailand and also Maglev technoligy in daily operation connecting Shanghai Pudong Airport to Downtown and proposals for more Maglev routes.

I would not discount Russia either, there is a long distance Maglev planned from Moscow to (I think) Vladivostock and their high speed network is expanding.

Of course there is a lot of development in Europe too, in Spain, Germany and France especially and their technology is being exported to other Countries such as China, Taiwan and Russia and of course remember the developments in Eastern Europe!

The Trans-Siberian will have a Maglev route too? Wow ... the will probably take decades to complete!!
 

Anon Mouse

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The Trans-Siberian will have a Maglev route too? Wow ... the will probably take decades to complete!!
I'm not 100% on which route the Maglev is supposed to be on, but it was going to be a very long distance. It was however mentioned online in a broadcast on the Russian TV channel. When I get back to the UK I will check my history on YouTube and paste the link. Maybe in the meanwhile somebody else may have seen it or find the link! There is some stuff on Youtube about the tunnel from Mainland China to Taiwan and the route from China to Laos if anyone else wants to see the same clips!
 

jopsuk

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Surely whilst the governments in Beijing and Taipei both claim they are the "legitimate" government of the whole of China (including Taiwan) there's very very little chance of a tunnel connecting China and Taiwan?
 
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