When, in 1998, I took the sleeper train from Shanghai to Beijing it took around 19 hours. When, in 2011, China completes the high speed line to cover the route it will take just 4 hours. That will be thanks to the 380A trains that have started to come off the production line this week. The Ministry of Railways ordered 100 of these trains, most of which I assume will be running along this route. Whilst the photo above only shows one of the carriages, the front looks pretty impressive too (below).
When I visit the UK soon, it will take me well over four hours 15 mins to drive 400km, the route these trains take will be 1300km and done in less time, with less stress, loads of comfort…etc. And the UK is still complaining about a second high speed route to cover a fraction of this; I was thinking about a new category called “High Speed envy”, so for now and the foreseeable future I guess the UK just isn’t going anywhere fast, literally.