China’s rapid railway puts nation on track to progress

By Khyati Shah Source:Global Times Published: 2018/1/30 20:05:30

Illustrations: Chen Xia/GT

The Chinese love affair with their trains is as longstanding as the history of China and railroads themselves. China now claims the world's longest high-speed train network, encompassing over 25,000 kilometers of tracks. There is no doubt that this impressive connectivity has spurred economic progress over the past decade, and now China is taking this progress even further.

Infrastructure is important for any developing country's progress and a key factor in pushing the engines of an economy. China has realized this, which is why it is focusing on developing its railways probably more than any other country in the world.

The latest in the development of Chinese railroads is the incredible achievement made by 1,500 workers in East China's Fujian Province, who came together to complete the installation of a new railway line as part of a train station upgrade in less than one day. To be precise, in less than nine hours! This massive construction project was achieved along with the help of 23 diggers and seven trains.

The new Nanping-Longyan railway line, which will be completed in later 2018, is 246 kilometers long and will become a major artery in the country-wide transport network. Trains traveling at speeds up to 200 kilometers per hour will be supported by this line.

Just as railroad tracks run parallel to one another, other developing economies in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) should try to replicate this progress. The pace of their own economies could certainly be put into faster gear with improved infrastructure projects similar to China's.

But speed must also be matched with safety.

Recent reports of black smoke soaring into the sky from a train traveling from Qingdao to Hangzhou on January 25 come to mind.

An electrical equipment malfunction is supposed to have been the cause. Fortunately, no casualties were reported and passengers were quickly evacuated. While the railway staff should be applauded for ensuring their safety, a full and transparent investigation should also be conducted. Indeed, concerned authorities have taken due cognizance of this alarming incident, with 14 other trains running between Beijing and Shanghai suspended following the accident.

Prevention is always the best cure, as goes the famous proverb. Yes, it is certainly remarkable to have crucial infrastructure projects completed with such incredible speed, but quality and safety measures must be carefully overseen during the construction process. The silver lining is that, over all, train travel is generally safe in China. I myself have thoroughly enjoyed the high-speed bullet trains of China. They are cheaper, more convenient and more comfortable than local airlines. Before you know it, you have already arrived at your destination!

Transport and infrastructure are the trump cards needed to win at the high-stakes game of economic progress, and in this aspect China has leaped far ahead.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Global Times.


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