China has unveiled plans to launch high-speed rail links over the next decade that will connect the country with Europe, the UK, Asia and India.
The new plans mean that international rail passengers will be able to make the journey from Beijing to London in just two days, reaching speeds of 320kph. Passengers who board at London’s Kings Cross station will further be able to travel the 10,800km journey to Singapore via Beijing in just three days. According to Chinese domestic railway senior spokesperson Wang Mengshu, the stated goal is to introduce trains which can make international travel in the same time as planes.
Three network routes have been slated for implementation. One would connect Beijing to London via the channel Tunnel and potentially onwards to Singapore. The second would traverse through Vietnam, Thailand, Burma and Malaysia while the third would connect China to mainland Europe including Germany and Russia. Wang advised that all three are hoped to be completed over the course of the next ten years, with the Chinese rail industry already in negotiations with the seventeen countries which feature in the new venture. Once completed, the high-speed rail network would represent one of history’s largest ever infrastructure projects, carrying both passengers and raw materials.
Wang claimed that the idea was first mooted by countries outside of China, notably India, who were keen to take advantage of the booming superpower. Domestically, China has been growing its own rail network at a rapid pace, with all major cities in the country scheduled to be connected by rail links in the next five years, with some 30,500km of track to be laid in that time.