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China Fast Tracks High Speed Megaproject

China is doubling down on infrastructure spending in the face of the worst economic situation in 25 years.

They have a new high-speed rail line that is set to open late next month which will span 2,300 km, East (Shanghai) to South West (Kunming), traveling at a speed of 350 km/hr in just under 9 hours.


The current train from Shanghai to Kunming takes an agonizing 40 hours.

Aerial view of the Shanghai-Kunming Line. (Xinhua)
Aerial view of the Shanghai-Kunming Line. (Xinhua)

The line passes through major cities like Hangzhou, Yiwu, Nanchang and Changsha. The long term vision is a High Speed Rail line, as part of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ Initiative to extend to Singapore in Southeast Asia.  This is commonly referred to as the Pan-Asian Railway, and will be 4,500 kms in length.

The central line will cross Laos and Thailand before heading south towards Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur and then Singapore. The eastern line will run through Vietnam and Cambodia before linking up with the central line in Bangkok. The western line will cross more of southwestern China and much of Myanmar before joining up in Bangkok.

For the journey, the full ticket fare is reported to cost from 700-750 yuan.


Aerial view of the Shanghai-Kunming Line. (Photo Credit: Xinhua)

According to People’s Daily, Kunming tourism authorities are expecting to see the number of tourists visiting the city to rise by 10-20% thanks to the new high-speed line.

To encourage future growth along the line, there will be discounts given to tourists who stop in one of the many cities it passes through.

Map of High Speed Rail in China
Map of High Speed Rail in China

The new line is just the latest part in China’s master plan to cover not only its own countryside and Southeast Asia with rail, but there are talks to expand into South Asia and Europe, eventually connecting with the UK.

Currently, China leads the world with over 20,000 kilometers of high-speed track. That is projected to expand to 30,000 km by 2020 and then grow to 45,000 km by 2030.

Earlier this month, China unveiled a new series of overnight high-speed trains with cabins that come complete with fold-out beds and wifi.  New China reports in detail:

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