I am too slow to react to this news. The 6th national wide train speed increase has been completed. Since I didn’t try the new train, it still didn’t impact my life yet. (The basic rule in this blog is to write about ‘events in Shanghai that affects my life and others. I tend to write only on something that makes an impact to me).
I know there must be some very good side about this speed-up. I will talk about it after I take the train. I just want to start the discussion about how it may change the landscape of city distribution in China.
Luoyang v.s. Zhengzhou
I remember when I was in university, I took train #1658 from Shanghai to Luoyang.
According to the old schedule, it took about 16 hours (16:32 – 08:14+1) to arrive in Zhengzhou, and about 20 (16:32 – 10:17+1) hours to arrive in Luoyang.
After the D-series train appears, the D82/D83 train leave Shanghai at 15:30 and arrives in Zhengzhou at 21:45. The same 998 km trip only costs 6 hour and 15 minutes – about 1/3 of the original time.
The bad thing, though, is the train to Luoyang is the same – or even slower. The gap between Zhengzhou and Luoyang jumped from 2 hour to almost 10 hours.
What does it mean to the second level city – Luoyang? Does it mean all people in Luoyang and other smaller cities should all migrate to bigger cities like Zhengzhou? Anyway, Luoyang is not too small – a city of 6 million population. There are must be many “smaller” city like Luoyang got left far behind during this railway speed up.
Nanjing to Shanghai
A side note: My first trip to Nanjing in 1996 took me 13 hours – the train of 6 hours delayed. 6 hours in 1996 are still OK, compared to the 18 hours to Luoyang at that time (even at that time, Luoyang was 18 hours away, instead of 19). The current D train arrives in Nanjing in just 1 hour and 58 minutes.
High Speed Train or Maglev?
Running at 200 km/h to 250 km/h, the new train on the existing system seems reasonably good compared to the 430 km/h Maglev. What is the fate of the Hangzhou-Shanghai Maglev train? Will it relally start construction or not?
The D train made a bigger jump in ticket price. For some trains, speed went up by 50%, and price went up by 400% or higher.
Questions after Questions
There must be a lot of questions and impact of the high-speed train in China. What are the impacts? How it further transforms China? There are many questions to be answered. Anyway, the trains have been running on the rail for some time, and it takes longer for people to really get ready to use these high-speed trains and see the impact it does to normal people’s life, or the future of cities in China.