Why does the West struggle and East thrive on the High-Speed Railway?

Why does the West struggle and East thrive on the High-Speed Railway?

Old fuel-consuming slow trains have been derailed since the age of modern railway solutions which meet the speed, efficiency, and consumption. From freight transportation solutions to a passenger transport system along with air and road, the 21st-century rail transportation is a more broad and diverse concept than ever before. The bullet trains, high-speed trains that can achieve over 250km an hour are creating a new revolution in passenger transportation across the globe. Bullet trains were introduced in Japan’s high-speed line between Tokyo and Osaka, which was inaugurated in 1964; the famous Shinkansen ‘bullet train’ could reach speeds of 210km an hour. In 1977, sections of the Florence – Rome line became Europe’s first high-speed railway at top speeds of 250kmph. The high-speed rail’s rapid growth in the last decade has encouraged governments in various countries to invest in HSR.

China is considered as the leader of high-speed rail, with a 30,000km widespread network accounting for two-thirds of the world’s HSR lines. All the major cities of China are connected through the network, one of the major advantages of HSR is, its helping domestic transport to operate smoothly with less pollution in the most efficient way. Not only the profit, integrity of the broad network is another factor influencing the Chinese government to invest in HSR, smaller townships like Lanzhou to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province is proposed to link to Lhasa, capital of Tibet is an example of government policy and international diplomacy shares the advantages of an infrastructure like HSR. Less time consuming, well connected and punctual high-speed trains are a more dependable mode of transportation – compared to restricted, delayed, costly air transportation in China. East Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are other countries that have well networked and operated high-speed railway lines.

The West, Europe, and the United States are also operating high-speed railway networks, but in the case of high-speed rail, they are trailing East Asian countries. Even though countries like France, Germany, and Spain have well operating high-speed trains, the number of services and the speed of the trains are low compared to Chinese and Japanese trains. The United States has a poor interest in high-speed trains, increased manufacturing costs of approximately 148 million dollar a mile to China’s 30 million dollar per mile and large tenure of construction, complex land acquisition, automobile policy and regulations, aviation policy leads government’s lack of interest which is dragging them out from the game. In Europe, the cheaper rates of budget aviation companies are making HSR a struggle where tourism and EU cross-country railway routes are helping them to survive in Europe.

Considering the factors like carbon emissions, productivity and return on investment, reduced casualties and accident rates compared to normal rail transportation facilities are some of the exclusive advantages of HSR lines over other transportation solutions. Many railway links are currently evolving and planned around the globe including Saudi Arabia, India, Iran, Turkey, and Russia; Saudi Arabia already operates a 300 km/h bullet train between Medina and Mecca, whereas the world’s best economies are still behind the race and they are trying to research more on the HSR lines to invest and improve their infrastructure and economy.


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