China links world with its high-speed rail technology

08:18, December 09, 2010      

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"Building roads before building wealth," a widely known slogan in China, was cited by Lao Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad.

Lengsavad was referring to a planned high speed railway for his country. As an inland country, Laos wants to counter its disadvantages of being land-locked by improving its transportation systems, Lengsavad said at the ongoing seventh World Congress on High Speed Rail in Beijing.

In April, Laos reached an agreement with China to establish a joint venture that will construct a railway linking China's southwestern Yunnan province and the Lao capital of Vientiane. The project will be launched in 2011, with an estimated construction time of four years, Lengsavad said.

Thailand, another country in Southeast Asia, is also partnering with China to improve its rail network.

In October, Thailand approved a negotiation framework for a project for Thailand-China cooperation on high-speed rail. Under the framework, the two countries will cooperate to build five railways designed for speeds of 250 km per hour at a cost of 22.5 to 25.5 billion U.S. dollars.

Regional traffic networks promote trade, investment as well as economic and social development, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thuagsuban said at the conference.

China's high-speed rail is welcomed by its neighboring developing countries, not only for its competitive cost performance ratio, but for the great impetus it gives to economic and social development.

Some media even used "high-speed rail diplomacy" to describe the prosperity of China's construction of the rail network.

On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, Chinese enterprises have begun to enter the U.S. market.

General Electric Co. (GE) has announced the company and China's largest rail vehicle maker China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corporation Limited (CSR) will invest 50 million dollars in a U.S. based joint venture to make high-speed trains.

"It's very good they (GE) can find a world-class partner here in China to work with. I'm sure it will benefit both companies and both countries as a result," said Bill Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association.

Since 2003, China has signed agreements or memoranda of understanding for bilateral cooperation on rail with more than 30 countries, including the United States, Russia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Poland and India.

In a post-crisis era, developing the low-carbon economy and seeking sustainable development has pushed for a third global wave of high-speed railway construction.

Under this circumstance, China's high-speed rail network has been developing quickly over the past years with a combined length totaling 7,531 kilometers, the world's longest.

During a latest test run on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway in December, a CRH-380A train set a new speed record of 486.1 km per hour.

Chinese manufacturing sources said Tuesday China aimed to break the world high-speed rail record of 574.8 km per hour in a trial run next year.

All these are the basis for China's high-speed rail industry to "go abroad" and conduct international cooperation.

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang said at the conference that China should open up wider to the outside world and enhance communication and cooperation with other countries in high-speed rail, while encouraging Chinese rail enterprises to "go abroad" and enhance friendship through cooperation.

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, general director of the International Union of Railways (UIC), said the great development of Chinese high-speed rail has demonstrated that only by learning from each other can all seek a better and faster development.

"The cooperation on high-speed rail enhances cooperation between nations, thus advancing the industry to a higher standard," said E. Grillo Pasquarelli, director of Inland Transport of the European Commission.



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