Can China build three fast rail transcontinental networks ?

While reading CleanTechnica I came across a tremendously huge project : link via high speed rail Asia and Europe. This network would enable to go from London to Beijing in only two days.

Within ten years, the three networks would transport people and goods alike and would link 17 nations – including India, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Russia – at 320 kilometres per hour (200 mph).

If completed, this project would be a fantastic alternative to air travel. Will the 21st century be another golden age for rail travel ?

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UK considers High Speed Rail project

UK-high-speed-rail-projectHigh speed rail is a fantastic sustainable alternative to cars and planes for longer distances. This is why countries such as Spain, China or the United States are currently working or plan to work on such projects.

Due to halve the time necessary to link by train the capital to cities like Edinburg, Glasgow or Manchester, the £34bn ($55bn or 38bn €) project would build 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of tracks by 2020.

An interesting feature of this project is that it would complete the European High speed rail network  in a great way.

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China’s huge high speed rail project

china-high-speed-train-beijing-shanghaiLast week, Fortune Magazine published a most interesting article on the Chinese high speed rail project. By 2020 over 25,000 km (16,000 miles) of new tracks will be built for a cost of $300 billion (210 billion €).

The People’s Republic government launches this huge project to answer to it’s citizens’ needs of alternative to cars and fast transportation, create million of jobs and spur economic growth.

This takes place as the United States want to create ten corridors of high speed rail. However, the allocated means – a mere eight billion dollars – won’t complete this project.

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A great project for US high speed rail

Future-high-speed-rail-USA-2030I previously noted that the United States have a plan of creating ten high speed rail corridors by 2020. Even if this is a good idea, it isn’t enough as it won’t enable Americans to travel from coast to coast.

This might be done by 2030 according to the US High Speed Rail Network which advocates the building of 17,000 miles (27,000 km) of high speed rail which would enable trains to go as fast as 220 mph (355 kmph).

The map above shows what the network could look like by 2030. The US would by then have a similar network to its European counterpart. A bright prospect that deserves our support.

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Spain is going green

Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodriguez ZapateroBy reading the French daily Le Monde, I came across an interesting interview [Fr] of the Spanish Prime Minister, M. Zapatero. There he stated that one of the solutions to get his country out of economic trouble is green growth.

Several other countries including the United States, China and South Korea already did so and as much 430 billion dollars have been already allocated to green New Deals worldwide.

Well advanced in biotechnologies, the country is willing to work much more on energy efficiency and conservation, renewables and high speed trains.

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Solutions to cut US dependance on foreign oil

suv I came across interesting data last week : Americans consume more than two times more oil per capita than Europeans. As we will see, this can be explained by three factors.

Bringing oil consumption per capita to European levels would enable the USA to be independent from foreign oil, save a lot of money, create millions of jobs, prevent massive climate change and preserve the environment.

Luckily President Obama’s administration is working on increasing both the mileage of vehicles and the use of high speed rail to overcome the current economic downturn.

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I avoided a tonne of CO2 emissions this year

tgv-blurThis year I avoided the emission of more than a tonne of carbon dioxide – more likely 1,500 kilograms – by simply taking the train on various occasions like business or leisure trips.

Fast trains in France –  like the TGV on the left – are powered by electricity, which is 90% low carbon. Relatively reliable, it is a pleasure to use them and work while going at 360 km/h. (200mph)

Thus, using public transportation systems fights climate change. Decreasing CO2 emissions is easy, we will see it with my Towards Sustainability series.

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Keeping on decreasing CO2 emissions by using the train

As I noted in the previous post, I have been lately quite a lot in trains to go to Paris and Besançon for my job research and leisure.

Using the train enabled me to avoid the emissions of nearly 240 kilograms of carbon dioxide as if I had been going by car. I have to admit that I am quite satisfied with myself.

Climate change mitigation is easy once one have understood how to achieve significant results. My use of the train is but one.

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574.8 kph !

This is the speed achieved today by the French Train à Grande Vitesse (high speed train) hence breaking the previous world record of 515 kph dated from 1990. This world record is interesting as train is releasing much less greenhouse gases than planes.

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European fast train line inaugurated today

The French fast line train for the East of Europe (known here as the TGV Est Européen) due to start in June and inaugurated today will bring Paris to Stuttgart or Frankfurt in only 3 hours and 30 minutes against 6 hours previously. Major cities like Strasbourg or Reims will also benefit from shorter transportation times.

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