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Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway

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Projects > Roads and Railways

China is currently constructing an 817-mile (1,315-km) long high-speed railway system connecting its two major economic zones: the Bohai Sea Rim and the Yangtze River Delta.[1] Together, these two regions’ local GDP accounts for 40 percent of the nation’s total.[2]

The new passenger-dedicated rail system is called the Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway. Its trains are expected to reach 217 miles (349 km) per hour, reducing the trip from Beijing to Shanghai from 10 hours to five.[3]

An estimated 220,000 passengers are expected to use the trains each day,[4] which is double the current capacity.[5] During peak hours there should be a train every five minutes.[6] Passengers will not be required to purchase tickets in advance, but will use I.C. cards instead.

The Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway Co., Ltd. is in charge of construction. Projected costs for the line have fluctuated immensely from early reports of US$12 billion[7] to the most recent totals of US$31.6 billion[8].

Contents

[edit] Construction History

[edit] Accommodating a Growing Population

The original Beijing-Shanghai railway was completed in 1912 and it has served as China’s busiest railway for nearly a century. As population increased, the trains reached and surpassed peak capacity.

"China's railway service has long fallen short of demand," said Li Heping, a researcher at the China Academy of Railway Sciences. "There are two solutions: building more railways and raising the train speed."[9]

Cities along the existing Beijing-Shanghai rail line account for one-quarter of the country’s population. So, the Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway was proposed in 1994[10] and initial designs were completed by 1998[11]. The new rail line will run parallel to the existing Beijing-Shanghai main railway line.

"The project would ease the pressure on tight rail transport capacity between the two most populous regions and help promote technological innovation and industrial update," said Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang.[12]

[edit] Technology Debate and Unforeseen Delays

China’s Ministry of Railways (MOR) promised an opening date for the new line in 2010, but engineers said construction “could take at least until the middle of the decade (2015).”[13] However, the MOR didn’t account for the debate over technology that occurred.[14] Initial plans outlined that only domestic technology should be used. Delays resulted in feasibility studies not being completed until March 2006.

In May 2006, the MOR opened the project to the foreign market. Immediate international interest developed. Alstom, Siemens, and Mitsubishi-Kawasaki were all interested in providing parts for the project.

Testing began shortly thereafter between the main line section of Shanghai and Nanjing. It sat on the soft terrain of the Yangtze Delta and therefore would serve as difficult a challenge as engineers would face on the actual construction. They discovered the trains would need to be manufactured of aluminum alloy with specially designed windscreen glass capable to withstand impact from birds.

"After numerous tests, the glass for the windshield will be made from a special composite material," said Huang Qiang, chief engineer from Chinese Academy of Railway Science.[15]

Qiang estimated construction of the new rail line would take at least eight to 10 years, or perhaps even longer. Completion dates appear to vary immensely depending on the source. Most recent estimates project completion by 2014, with certain sections to be completed much sooner. The Beijing-Tianjin section is set to open in June 2008 to serve the summer Olympics and the Shanghai-Nanjing section should be finished by 2010 for the World Expo.

[edit] The First Train and Beyond

The first new train rolled off the production line on April 11, 2008. It was an eight-carriage train with a streamlined body made of light aluminum alloy and capable of carrying 557 passengers.[16] In all, there will be 57 trains in commercial operation by 2009.[17]

Despite proposals to begin construction in 2007, the groundbreaking ceremony did not take place until April 18, 2008. Construction is now underway.

By 2020, China hopes to have extended its railways to 62,000 miles (99,779 km).[18] Of that length, 11,160 miles (17,960 km) will be for trains running 125 miles (201 km) per hour or more, and 31,000 miles (49,900 km) will be for express trains.[19]

[edit] Equipment Used

[edit] References

  1. Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Line, China. Railway-Technology.com, 2008-09-25.
  2. Construction of Beijing to Shanghai High-speed Railway Kicks Off. CRIEnglish.com, January, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  3. Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway Breaks Ground. CRIEnglish.com, April, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  4. Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Line, China. Railway-Technology.com, 2008-09-25.
  5. Construction of Beijing to Shanghai High-speed Railway Kicks Off. CRIEnglish.com, January, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  6. Construction of Beijing to Shanghai High-speed Railway Kicks Off. CRIEnglish.com, January, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  7. Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Line, China. Railway-Technology.com, 2008-09-25.
  8. Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway Breaks Ground. CRIEnglish.com, April, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  9. Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway Breaks Ground. CRIEnglish.com, April, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  10. Construction of Beijing to Shanghai High-speed Railway Kicks Off. CRIEnglish.com, January, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  11. Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Line, China. Railway-Technology.com, 2008-09-25.
  12. Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway Breaks Ground. CRIEnglish.com, April, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  13. Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Line, China. Railway-Technology.com, 2008-09-25.
  14. Report: China to build Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway soon. International Herald Tribune, September, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  15. Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway to be China's own brand. People.com.cn, March, 2006. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  16. Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway Breaks Ground. CRIEnglish.com, April, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  17. Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway Breaks Ground. CRIEnglish.com, April, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  18. Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway Breaks Ground. CRIEnglish.com, April, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  19. Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway Breaks Ground. CRIEnglish.com, April, 2008. (accessed: 2008-09-25)