China Bullet Trains - More Tracks Needed

At 5:38 am sharp yesterday the sparkling white, futuristic No. D460 train departed Shanghai Station, heralding a new era of high-speed rail travel in China. The trains support WiFi services for those with laptops and other mobile devices wanting to keep in touch.
The Ministry of Railways told AFP that 52 trains have been deployed on short distance services. By the end of the year, the ministry said 108 more trains will be added.
China, now the world’s fourth-largest economy, is keen to show off the new bullet trains as evidence that it can develop its own technology in key sectors. But they are still mainly built abroad on the basis of technology transfer agreements with industry heavy-hitters such as Japan’s Mitsubishi-Kawasaki, Canada’s Bombardier, German giant Siemens and France’s Alstom.
The head of Alstom’s operations in China, Alain Berger, said that given the complexities involving the installation of new tracks, signalling and power sources, Beijing’s achievement was to be applauded.
However, currently only 6,000 kilometres of track can accommodate the high-speed trains.By 2020, China hopes 13,000 kilometres of track, or about one-fifth of the nation’s current 77,000 kilometres, will be able to handle bullet trains.
“Tickets are quite expensive,” said one passenger, who paid 42 yuan (5.43 US dollars) on the bullet service between Beijing to Tianjin. The usual price on the fastest express train on the same line is 30 yuan.

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