China launches high-speed rail

China has entered the high-speed-rail era. The signs are hard to miss.

“Sixth national speed-up,” proclaims a red banner the size of a Sunset Strip billboard in the middle of the Beijing train station. “Harmonious, made-in-China” bullet trains.

In the station in Tianjin, posters of smiling families in first-class seats line the walls, under the heading “Pursuit of Harmony.”

In a country where vacation season means two or three passengers for every seat, improvements to the rail system are heralded with great fanfare.

On April 18, two weeks before one of the nation’s busiest weeklong holidays, 280 domestically made high-speed passenger trains were added to China’s crowded and outdated tracks.

Traveling 60 mph faster than most of their predecessors, the trains can cut travel time by a third and will add about 300,000 seats a day, state media reported. A record 150 million travelers were projected during the May Day holiday week.

Source:  Los Angeles Times

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