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Rail link will spread wealth, says PM

A new high-speed rail network between Birmingham and London will help to alleviate the economic north-south divide, the Prime Minister has said.

David Cameron said the £30 billion train line linking Birmingham to London would spread the economic wealth concentrated in the South East.

During Prime Minister’s question time, he told the Commons: “For 50 years we have been trying to deal with the north-south divide, we have been trying to have a more effective regional policy.

“I do believe that high-speed rail has got a really effective role to play in bringing our country closer together and spreading economic benefit throughout all of our country.”


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Qatar to Build High-Speed Rail for 2022 World Cup

There’s been lots of speculation about how green the 2022 soccer World Cup in Qatar is going to be, especially considering the country has almost no public transportation and plans to air condition all of the stadiums.

Qatari officials, are however, using this as an opportunity to build the country’s infrastructure. The host country plans to invest $24 billion in transportation systems, including high-speed rail lines to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and a 340 km public transport network serving Doha and its surrounding areas, according Railway Gazette

The plans were part of Qatar’s unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Olympic Games.

“The 12 World Cup tournament venues are concentrated within a 60 km radius of Doha and will all be served by the rail network, 70 percent of which should be operational in 2020. The bid emphasized the provision of environmentally-friendly public transport, free of charge for match ticket holders, based on short transfers between the stadia, hotels and other facilities in Greater Doha.”

A $25 billion joint venture was signed between DB International and Qatari Diar to design and build Doha’s metro and suburban rail network.

The network will eventually have four lines with 98 stations. A $13 billion dollar airport is also slated to open by 2011.

One of the best things about large sports games is that they provide enough revenue for cities to build badly needed infrastructure. While Qatar has never been a poor country, the World Cup provides the country with the incentive to build rail and subway lines.

Currently, most residents of Qatar either take cabs or drive everywhere. Once the system is built, hopefully people will make a permanent switch — beyond just the World Cup.

And for a country with a seemingly endless supply of oil, that is really a big step.

Considering how expensive World Cup tickets are, the transportation is also free for ticket holders, which we think is great! Maybe the 2022 option isn’t looking so bad after all.

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First Snowfall Cancels More than 325 Flights at O’Hare

Sun Times

That first snowfall of winter that blanketed Chicago on Saturday wasn’t serious enough for folks to start saving parking spaces with broken lawn furniture, Chicago Streets and Sanitation commissioner Thomas Byrne said.

“I understand it’s a courtesy. . . . [But] I don’t think [the snow] is that deep yet that you have to worry about getting dibs on parking spots,” Byrne said. “I believe once we get in and salt and push the salt away there will be plenty of room for people to park.”

By 4 p.m. Saturday, the storm had dumped about 3.4 inches of snow at O’Hare Airport, where flights were delayed an average of 20 minutes and airlines canceled more than 325 flights. No flights were canceled at Midway Airport, where average flight delays were about 30 minutes.

By Saturday afternoon, 175 city snow plow crews had all major streets cleared and had begun work clearing side streets, Byrne said.

The snow and slick roads early Saturday contributed to two fatal crashes and several minor accidents, police said.

At 5:20 a.m., a 21-year-old man died when his car struck a viaduct near 38th and Ashland. In a separate crash at 6:20 a.m., a man died after losing control of his vehicle and striking a beam under the L tracks near Kostner and Lake, police said.

A winter weather advisory will remain in effect until 12:01 a.m. Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. The advisory means periods of snow will cause travel difficulties, and motorists should be prepared for snow-covered roads and low visibility.

The next chance of snow won’t come until Thursday or Friday, when there is a 20 percent chance of light snow, according to the weather service.

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A Step Closer to Getting High-Speed Rail in America?

The Atlantic

Some have thought that getting high-speed rail in the U.S. is impossible. But maybe not, now that the Chinese appear to be making a serious play for both California and Florida. This piece of news yesterday seems a significant first step:

General Electric Co. and CSR Corp., China’s largest maker of rail vehicles, plan to invest $50 million in their U.S.-based venture for supplying passenger trains for high-speed lines in California and Florida.

The initiative may “sustain or create” 250 jobs by 2012, potentially at GE Transportation factories in Erie and Grove City, Pennsylvania, the company said today. The partners also will form a business to work on medium-speed trains and on urban rail-transit systems, GE said in a statement.

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High speed train in China becomes fastest in world

Beijing News.Net

Chinese state media have reported that a Beijing-Shanghai bullet train has broken the world speed record for rail travel.

The next generation CRH380 reached speeds in excess of 290 miles per hour, topping out at 481.1 kilometres per hour (298.9 mph) and had an average speed during its journey equal to that of a low-flying jet airliner.

It is now the fastest unmodified commercial passenger rail service in the world, although the line between Beijing and Shanghai is still in its trial stages.

The CRH380 smashed the previous record, which was also held by China, for their Shanghai-Hangzhou high-speed line, on which trains travel at 416.6 kilometres per hour, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

China is a world leader in high speed rail transport with over 6000 miles of high speed rail lines in operation and a further several thousand under construction, high speed rail is seen as the future of intra-city transport as fuel and security costs for airlines climb.

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VIDEO: Talking High-Speed Rail with Norman Mineta

The Railist

Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta says that high-speed rail is important “in terms of mobility and relieving congestion, in terms of being less dependent on foreign oil.”

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Siemens to Start Making High-Speed Trains in Russia


Siemens AG, Germany’s largest engineering company, plans to start producing high-speed trains in Russia in 2015, as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin seeks to upgrade the country’s infrastructure and strengthen the economy.

Siemens, together with billionaire Dmitry Pumpyansky’s Sinara Group and a unit of state-owned OAO Russian Railways, will begin production of trains based on Siemens’s regional Desiro model, which are already used in Hungary and by London’s Heathrow Express service.

Russia will spend 2 trillion rubles ($64 billion) “in the long term,” building a high-speed rail network across the country, Valentin Gapanovich, a senior vice president of the Russian rail monopoly, told reporters today.

“We need to create a strong program to develop a high- speed rail network in Russia,” Putin told Siemens Chief Executive Officer Peter Loescher during a meeting in Verkhnyaya Pyshma in the Sverdlovsk region. “It’s our joint work for years to come.”

The venture will make 160 wagons a year for the first two years and increase that to 240 in 2017, according to the companies.

Pumpyansky said he expects revenue from the venture to be on par with sales at OAO TMK, his pipemaking company, by 2017.

TMK forecast last month that sales will rise to $5.5 billion this year after they slumped to $3.46 billion last year.

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China Leads World In High-Speed Rail Tracks


China already has thousands of miles of railroads — including the world’s longest network of high-speed rail, which is 4,000 miles long. That total is set to double within two years, giving China more high-speed rail tracks than the rest of the world put together.

(Click the link below for the full audio report.)

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Study: High-Speed Rail Can Boost Economy, Reduce Traffic

Drawing lessons from other countries, a new study from U.S. PIRG contends that high-speed rail can boost the U.S. economy, save energy, curb pollution and provide a popular alternative to congested roads and airports.

The report, “A Track Record of Success: High-Speed Rail Around the World and Its Promise for America,†details a number of examples from around the world that make a variety of cases for high-speed rail.

Benefits listed

Some of the benefits, according to the study, include:

  • Jobs: About 8,000 people were involved in the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link between the tunnel and London.
  • Development opportunities near stations: The amount of office space in the area around the rail station in city of Lyon, France has increased by 43 percent.
  • Economic growth: In Germany, the counties surrounding the towns of Limburg and Montabauer experienced a 2.7 percent increase in their gross domestic product as a result of the increased access to markets provided by the Frankfurt-Cologne high-speed rail line.
  • Reduced road congestion: High-speed rail service between Madrid and Seville reduced the share of car travel between the two cities from 60 percent to 34 percent.
  • Reduced oil dependence: A typical Monday morning business trip between London and Paris via high-speed rail uses approximately a third less energy as a car or plane trip.

Growing demand

Over the last two years, the federal government has distributed $10.4 billion in grants to construct or plan high-speed rail, including incremental measures that increase the speed and reliability of existing passenger rail.

In these two rounds, 37 states and the District of Columbia have applied to the Federal Railroad Administration to support 341 project applications. Those requests totaled over $65 billion – about six times the amount made available by Congress.

“Now that the elections are behind us, it’s time to get serious about high-speed rail. There is no such thing as a Republican or a Democratic rail track,” said U.S. PIRG transportation associate Dan Smith, “Leaders from both parties should support long-term investment in high-speed rail for the economic, environmental, and quality-of-life benefits.”

In a statement about U.S. PIRG’s report, Glen Bottoms of the American Conservative Center for Public Transportation agrees: “This report reinforces our view that building a high-speed rail network is a prudent and cost effective use of America’s resources over the long-term.”

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A Bright Future Ahead for Korea’s High Speed Rail Industry


Knitting together the country’s major cities is Korea’s high speed railways.
And as over 100-thousand riders enjoy trips on the smoothly gliding bullet trains each day the high speed rail industry has grown into something more than just a mode of transportation here.
Back in 2004 Korea first imported the technology from France.
Six years have passed since then and now Korea is poised to export its homegrown high speed railway technology abroad.
Although competition in exporting rail technology is fierce among countries like China and Japan Korea’s chances of successfully exporting its know-how are quite high considering that Korea’s technology is competitive in price.
Back in September California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited Korea to discuss with President Lee Myung-bak ways to drum up a possible collaboration on an express train linking San Francisco and Los Angeles a project worth 42 billion US dollars.

[Interview : ] “I’m very impressed with the efficiency of the high speed rail and the kind of speed it travels, how quietly it travels. We look forward to having South Korea being part of the bidding process.”

And the domestic expansion of the KTX seems to be far from over.
In September, a new plan was unveiled by the government to create new lines and upgrade train speeds.
And such is expected to help connect the entire country so that most of the Korean population can have access to high-speed rail while making 95 percent of the country accessible within just two hours.
A new line connecting Seoul to Busan was recently established shaving the travel time between the two cities from 2 hours and 45 minutes to 2 hours 18 minutes.

[Reporter : Lee Ji-yoon,] “Korea will continue to seek ways in advancing its high speed rail industry with the hopes of exporting its know-how to other countries in the near future.
Lee Ji-yoon, Arirang News.”

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