Rail harmonybullettrain

Published on December 6th, 2010 | by Christopher DeMorro

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Chinese Commercial Train Breaks 300 MPH

The Chinese high-speed rail system is a serious feat of engineering accomplishment. Not only is it the biggest network of high-speed rail tracks, but a recent test run by a commercial train set a new speed record of 302 mph.

Yes there are other, faster trains, and this was just a test run on the new Beijing-to-Shanghai lines. However, this is supposed to be an unmodified, commercial train. China recently laid claim to another HSR record of 268 mph, but this new train breaks soared past that to 302 mph. That’s fast my friends, and very few land-based vehicles have managed such speeds. Called “Harmony,” this train probably won’t go 302 mph all the time, but just being capable of it is an achievement. At that speed, the 824 mile trip between two cities takes just five hours.

China’s high-speed rail network is about 4,000 miles right now. By 2020, they plan to more than double that to about 8,100 miles. I’m not trying to hate on my own country, but realistically, by that time, we’ll be lucky to have 500 miles of high-speed rail lines. The Chinese investment in high-speed rail dwarfs our own, though it isn’t exactly cheap.

At this rate, it’ll only be a few years before they break 400 mph. America needs to step its game up.

Source: Xinhua (yay Google Chrome translate)

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to Hemis. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.




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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • http://Web Tim Cleland

    The question is, is it more cost effective than travel by jet? If not, then China can have it. Although fast, it’s still only about half as fast as a jet and statistically less safe.

    • http://Web Mike Powell

      You don’t use something that is unable to compare at all. No one is foolish enough to judge plane’s and train’s speed that quickly just by looking at it. High speed train is very effective when comes to short-medium travel which is around 1000 km or less.

      High speed train has transformed the landscape of Europe and Japan decades ago. And if U.S. do have this system, it will do wonders as well.

    • http://Web Kevin

      Tim, you should also keep in mind the amount of “prep time” that goes into flying. Usually people are advised to get to the airport two hours ahead of their flights, then take another 20-30 minutes getting off the plane and collecting luggage. Not to mention, most commercial airports are located far from city centers, adding anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours to get from there to your actual destination, so overall you’re looking at an extra three hours of waiting to fly.

      Meanwhile, most trains require less than an hour’s arrival ahead of time, and your luggage is often very nearby. Plus, they travel directly into the city center, meaning no taxi costs or long trips in. Pretty cost effective, I’d say.

  • http://Web Matt Wu

    statistically less safe? Have you checked the Bullet Train safety records? Compared with cars also much safer. American’s just pull stuff out of their ass :-)

    • http://Web Patrick

      Yes we do. HSR is the future of travel. Freight by regular rail is the past, present, and future. Rail is unbeatable. Think of all those boxcar roofs practically begging for solar panels… Build solar farms on the railroad land. The majority of railroads are on uninhabited lands anyways… I’m just sayin

  • http://Web Bill E

    “At that speed, the 824 mile trip between two cities takes just five hours.”

    What kind of math is that” Five hours at 300 mph is not 824. Must have some serious layovers.

  • http://Web Ted Chuang

    Of course! It’s most cost effective and time efficient to trave by high speed trains. Why would Europe and Asia continuously improve high speed rai yet USA is lagging behind and just knowingly how to make frivious and jelous comments. It surely would be faster than going through the stupid TSA security. Americans do need to pull their stuffs out of their ass! WAY BEHIND!

  • http://Web Tom Sanderson

    Three weeks ago I took the Maglev high speed train from the station in Shanghai to the PuDong Airport which is the airport you fly into heading to Shanghai. I believe its around 26mi or so and it took like 7 minutes. We hit a top speed of 430km/h (267mph) during the short trip. It cost $40 RMB and with the exchange rate of roughly $15 US per $100 RMB …that’s like $6. Can’t beat it!

  • http://Web Barry

    I am sickened by the stories and influx of information continually being broadcast about other countries achievements. My country, America, used to be the leader in developing, producing and applying new technologies. What happen? Who is to blame for this downward spiral we have be in for the last 40 years. Why can’t it be fixed now rather than the promises of future prosperity we seem to hear about from the politicians? Friends, make note, we are in deep trouble in maintaining our way of live and our country’s principals. I’m at an age it will not make so much an impact on me but my children, grand children and great grand children will suffer dearly because of the mistakes being made yesterday, today and tomorrow. God Bless America, no one else will.

    • http://Web alex

      we are all to blame. this happened because it was cheaper to manufacture in china therefore all the money poured into china’s economy to make cheap goods to be sold back here, while our economy remains stagnant. most americans dont want the horrible conditions and low pay of manufacturing work so we all have desk jobs and clack away at the computer to have things sent here instead. we are at the “fall of the empire” so to speak. imo our rein of “superiority” is over. it was short lived anyway, we’ve only been considered a world power since WWII. the only thing we have left is our “freedom” but even that is a gray area anymore.

    • http://Web cr0ft

      Because in America now, taxes and Government is perceived as a bad thing. Arguably, American Government as it stands is a bad thing, but that’s something that needs to change.

      The Chinese Government understands that if you don’t have quality infrastructure, everything else suffers. In America, however, it is much more important that the rich not pay taxes… Thus, US infrastructure is falling apart; much of it is over 100 years old now, and it would take something like $9 trillion right now to stabilize it and stop the decay; more than that to get it up to spec.

      Capitalism just doesn’t work in the long run. America needs a lot more democracy and a lot less insane financial decisions, and until that happens, the downward spiral will unfortunately continue.

  • http://trendplanner.com Matt

    On one hand this is a great achivement, but on the other people should be aware that only a small percentage of people in China can actually afford to use the high speed train system.

  • http://www.picamer.com Nicolae Surdu

    In Romania, the top speed of a train is 150 kmh (~93 mph) with wind from behind … :(

    • http://Web Mike Powell

      Come on, be patient. Who knows in future, Romania may have this system as well.

  • http://Web Ciendolor

    Well, the European trains (e.g. the TGV) uses 0.15 MJ/passenger kilometer, and reputed the ICE is in the same range. Amtrak uses 1.73 MJ/passenger kilometer. A plane uses 1.92 MJ/passenger kilometer. Trains can make use of regenerative braking, which apparently planes find difficult to do. So if you add all this up over the number of passenger kilometers, its quite a bit more efficient to travel by high speed train.
    However, this does not count the huge energy costs of construction, and that’s just too hard for me to do right now. The chief complaint in CA is this enormous cost.
    But beyond that, here’s the problem with Americans – they have to spend time in a shared space with other Americans! Hey, this is the whole point of suburbs, to keep all those other people away, yet have access to services! And now we expect them to sit next to each other! OMG!!! I watch Fox! Do you know how awful other people are?

  • http://Web Chris

    Yea we should TOTALLY try to be more like China. Let’s think about that.

    • http://Web Chris

      And cool math on 302 mph would take 5 hours to go 824.

  • http://Web travel4nutin

    The US will never get a system like that because the government is crippled. It can never raise taxes and can only invest in war not infrastructure.

  • http://MrEnergyCzar.com/ MrEnergyCzar

    They’ll need it to escape the lethal air of their cities….

    MrEnergyCzar

    • UncleB

      Thorium LFTR technology reactors to debut 2017, Currently Thorium pebble bed gas reactors up and running, Candu’s reconfigured for thorium and old nuclear weapons for fuel in use, Solar, Wind Wave, Hydro, Tidal, Geothermal advances, and a constant reminder of America’s Clean Coal systems at their heels! Soon enough the smoke will clear as a thrust for electric cars, by proclamation of the Group of seven, has been instated, even Tesla of America there now,and companies owned by Bill Gates developing ‘forbidden American territories” in nuclear technologies, neutron guns for Thorium reactors and much, much more. The Chinese certainly are motivated.

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