Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Shinkansen in China

The Yoimuri Shimbun is reporting today that China will buy sixty Hayate shinkansen (bullet trains) from a consortium of Japanese companies for its planned 12,000km network of high-speed trains. Apparently they will also buy ICE trains from Germany, but not TGV trains from France. No idea how they plan to apportion the different technologies; by region?

Hayate trains currently run at up to 275kph, though JR East is said to be working on speeds up to 360. The Chinese network is proposed to run at 300.

The report says the network will cost more than ten trillion yen (about 80 billion dollars), but doesn't say how many years it will take to do the whole buildout (though some services may start as early as 2008), nor what fraction of that money will be spent on Japanese-made rolling stock. Nikkei says the Hayate trains cost 250 million yen ($2M) per car, and I think those trains are typically ten cars, times sixty trains, that's $1.2 billion dollars.

And in America we have only the Acela, and only in a small area.

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