Even as word gets around that President Obama’s dream of high speed rail (HSR) in the U.S. has been gutted for the year as part of federal budget deals despite what looks to be massive public/private sector interest, other parts of the world continue to march forward with their plans. One of these, which ironically had a major feature written up on it just as the U.S. HSR option looks to have crashed and burned, is China’s Lanxin Second Railway.
The Lanxin Railway, as reported by ShanghaiDaily.com, will reportedly be the world’s highest, and certainly one of the fastest, trains once completed in 2015. This 1,776-kilometer (1,103 mile) long line runs across China’s Gansu and Qinghai provinces to Xinjiang, while “traversing the wind-ravaged Gobi Desert.” It is designed to handle high speed trains going up to 186 miles per hour and sits at altitudes sometimes in the range of over 12,000 feet.
As for cost, it is said this project has a planned investment of “more than 140 billion yuan,” or $21.4 billion American. It is noted, however, that this is not the actual figure, leading one to believe costs could run higher. Not all Chinese officials are said to be comfortable with the costs associated, but the Chinese government has plans for thousands of miles of HSR lines by 2015, and the Lanxin Railway looks to be a large part of that equation.
Previous adventures by the Chinese into high speed rail include one of its trains in December hitting a recorded speed of 302 MPH.
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