FAST TRAIN FOR CHINESE ECONOMIC RECOVERY ON FAST TRACK Since the 2008 financial crisis many countries

are searching for speedy economic solutions to lead us out of the worst world economic down turn since the 1929 depression. In President Obama’s 2010 state of the union speech he unleashed plans for pushing America fast train deployment ahead starting with eight billion dollar loan guarantee to Florida. He even mentioned China’s fast train progress and potential export market in his speech. For the first time since 1949 a U.S. president mentioned China in a state of the union speech in a positive till without criticism. Hopefully the fast train will also help American recovery. Following news headlines from China Daily clearly indicates that China is moving full steam ahead to speed up her fast train deployment nationwide; “The much anticipated Beijing to Shanghai fast train will start operation one year ahead of original schedule in 2010 because of the stimulation package. The 12 hour trip will now be only three hours.” “At least ten new rail projects are being planned or constructed in the west now, which eventually lead to the Beibu Gulf region, the "gate" for western provinces to go to the sea. With a new rail network, even Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the far western inland will no longer be far from the coast.” “China already has 6,552 km of rail track in operation – the most high-speed rail track in the world. Ultimately, China plans to construct a 120,000-km railway network, including 50,000-km of high-speed rail track, by 2020.” “China now wants to export China's high-speed railway technology to North America, Europe and Latin America. State-owned Chinese companies are already building highspeed lines in Turkey and Venezuela. Many countries, including the United States, Russia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, have also expressed interest.” It appears that China’s fast train network and export potential is reminiscent of the successful American automobile, commercial airline development and Internet communication explosion during the 20th Century. In each case America has the internal market as initial launching pad to jump start ahead of the world. America with her vast North American continent land mass in each of the above cases was able to fully utilize her market and manufacturing resources to become leader of the world in those important industries. In my field of study, the commercial airline space, America the dynamic young country after Second World War was able to attract many talented scientists from Europe and Asia to help build the biggest aerospace industrial center in the world. As international commercial air travel expands Europe was caught unprepared to play catch up. Half a century later America still dominates the commercial airline industry.

Three decades ago America realized she was behind Japan and Europe in fast train deployment because of her over reliance on the automobile. Because of oil crisis there was a general interest to explore the use of fast train to complement airline travel. One of the promising routes is the heavily used corridor between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The author had the opportunity to be involved with the Las Vegas city planning commission as a consultant. Unfortunately despite active promotion and considerable interest the project did not materialize. Now the project has lost its luster and imitative especially in this economic down turn. Unless there will be Federal stimulus funding as the case in Florida the project will not happen because of lack of funding. In the fast train case, China’s large and difficult land mass and huge population call for more rail than automobile travel. Her government funded policy of long range infrastructure planning also is paying off. Over the last two decades she was willing to pay for Japan, German and France technology to build on. Today she has developed her own proprietary fast train industry with over 900 relevant international high speed train patents. Chinese companies plan to bid for contracts of building high-speed railways in the United States as China is willing to share its advanced technologies.
The future of fast train world market looks bright as the concern for energy conservation is growing. With China’s head start and her difficult terrain and huge domestic market she will continue to build momentum. FAST TRAIN WILL SURE BE THE LOCOMOTIVE FOR CHINESE ECONOMIC RECOVERY ON FAST TRACK.

Francis C W Fung, Ph.D. Director General World Harmony Organization San Francisco, CA

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