Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

An Investment We Have to Make

The New York Times

An Investment We Have to Make

Robert D. Yaro is the president of Regional Plan Association, a policy, research and advocacy group, and professor of practice in city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania.

 Building a national high-speed rail system shouldn’t be a partisan issue. But it’s becoming that way because of the hyper-partisanship in the country and the conviction of many on the right that public investments of this kind are in some way “un-American.”

High-speed rail will expand our economy, just as the Interstate highway system did in the 20th century.

This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Throughout history, our nation’s leaders championed federal investments in infrastructure. Washington led efforts to build canals right after the Revolution, Lincoln led efforts to build the Trans-Continental Railroad during the Civil War, and Eisenhower led efforts to build the Interstate highways during the Cold War. It is altogether appropriate for President Obama to lead efforts to build a national high-speed rail system now.

High-speed rail won’t work everywhere in the country. But it’s perfectly suited to the needs of America’s 11 emerging megaregions, home to 70 percent of Americans. These are densely populated places like the Northeast where metro areas share economic sectors, infrastructure and natural systems.

In most of these places existing highways and airports are severely congested and have little potential for expansion. In California, for example, a high-speed system can be a much more cost-effective way to provide needed mobility, compared with new or expanded highways and runways.

And at 100 to 600 miles across, megaregions are well suited for high-speed rail because they are too large for convenient car travel and too small for efficient air travel. High-speed systems have the potential to expand labor and housing markets and create new agglomerations in cutting edge industries.

For these reasons Japan, China, Taiwan and Europe — and now Brazil, South Africa, Morocco, India and Vietnam — already have or are building high-speed rail. Unless we build similar systems here, we will find ourselves at a growing competitive disadvantage caused by increasing congestion and inefficiency in moving people and goods.

At an estimated $500 billion, a national high-speed rail system won’t come cheap. But it will help enable a major expansion in the U.S. gross domestic product by mid-century, in much the same way the Interstate highways did in the 20th century. Once completed with forms of public financing, these systems can be operated and maintained by the private sector and operated at a profit. We can’t afford not to build a national high-speed system. It’s not the only infrastructure investment needed to secure our economic futures. But it’s one that will be essential to our future mobility and competitiveness.

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China High Speed Rail to Develop Fast

China’s high-speed rail in just a few years, the development by leaps and bounds, out of a railway with Chinese characteristics independent innovation, has been by the “catch-up” became the world’s railway “leader.” Moreover, China’s “iron hot” are driving abroad the door. Just a few years that high-speed railway network into the world’s largest demonstration effect of success, and the construction of China’s low cost, has attracted global attention, a considerable number of countries began to seek cooperation with China, building high-speed rail. In this regard, Europe and the United States and the world largest manufacturer of passenger trains are not without worries.

Uddin in Düsseldorf, Germany near the root, the train manufacturer Siemens engineers with 3D glasses, look at the detailed design of the train company’s latest projection. Such devices allow engineers to turn the train and parts of the multi-dimensional imaging to understand the ease of maintenance, driver comfort, and various other details.

Erie, Pennsylvania in the U.S. market, General Electric, the main locomotive works equally impressive. General Electric, the plant is committed to reducing fuel consumption, the development of hybrid energy-saving technologies.

As a leading force in the field of diesel locomotives, passenger train maker in the world — the three Siemens, Alstom and Bombardier of Canada, as well as General Electric and Caterpillar already identified the Department of motor vehicles, advanced technology will allow them in the world’s most high-end rail supply market. All of these companies some of their technology to a Chinese partner, largely because they believed that their design will not be abused in the development of other products.

They all said that although their products may be higher than the price of the products in emerging economies, but considering the advanced technology, these products are actually cheaper and more reliable.

But the European Railway Industry Association released the latest report shows that the railway market, cheaper Chinese products is likely to crowd out the large manufacturer’s market share.

Produced reports for the Boston Consulting Group partner that large manufacturers in rich countries no longer a question in the China market positioning, “but outside China market choice or competition with China.”

Siemens has already encountered this dilemma — it was originally an independent bid for Saudi Arabia’s first high speed train project (from Mecca to Medina) and the supply of high-speed train, but then decided to join in the capital-led consortium.

In Brazil, Vietnam and South Africa are considering the development of high-speed rail projects in emerging markets, Chinese manufacturers are expected to train in the infrastructure and supply challenge. Chinese companies are building in Africa, many of the railway construction or modernization, the Chinese motorcycle manufacturer of the supply of diesel cars could become the natural choice.

Ulrich said the market may think these developments, cutting-edge products in Europe and North America can not meet their needs.

But China suppliers face uncertainty. Although China has made many of their own high-speed trains, but all current models are based on European or Japanese technology. According to technology transfer agreements, China’s exports of motorcycles must be new models, not based on technology from Europe and Japan.

Suppliers in Europe and North America are expected to maintain the technology over time lead.

Director-General of the European railway industry association Szoko said: “For the European suppliers and some of the products, we have already developed a product maintainability and reliability. China is still a gap.”

General Electric Transportation director Zotti hope that all suppliers could have a market for development. GE supplier in China set up several joint ventures, but also in other areas to compete with them.

However, Ullrich’s report is expected from now to 2015, the Asian railway market, the average annual growth will slow to just 2.5%. This may cause the supply of high-speed network of factories in China’s spare capacity.

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Africa’s first high-speed rail link awaits World Cup fans

By Aislinn Laing

The 100mph Gautrain became one of the tournament’s flagship projects and its early delivery, just days before the first match on Friday, has been hailed as proof that South Africa is ready to host a world event.

The completion of the first stage of the 24bn rand (£2.1bn) project will allow passengers to travel between OR Tambo Airport and the northern business district of Sandton in just 15 minutes.

As well as providing an easy and safe way to travel into the capital for World Cup fans, it will also provide welcome relief for Johannesburg’s commuters who previously had to endure a journey of up to 90 minutes on traffic-clogged roads.

Tickets cost just 100R compared to an average of 300R (£30) for an airport transfer and trains will run between 5.30am and 8.30pm in the week, with one every 12 minutes at peak times.

Crowds of people flocked to the train’s modern terminal in Sandton to ride on one of the first shuttles open to the public.

Narcizo Makwakwa took “a joy ride” from Sandton to the airport and back.

“After this, I am going to work but I had to see it. I couldn’t wait for the past seven years for this, it is beautiful,” he said.

At the airport, Gaillard Rossouw said that without the train, he would never have made his early morning flight home to Durban. “It took me 15 minutes to get here, this is awesome,” he said.

Subsequent stages of the project will see an underground link into some of Johannesburg’s other suburbs and an overground link to South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, 31 miles to the north of Johannesburg, which aims to cut a journey of two hours in rush hour traffic to as little as 40 minutes.

There will be a total of 10 stations over the 50-mile route which is due for completion in June next year.

Ministers are now hoping that the Gautrain will encourage more people to abandon their cars and use public transport.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, who was transport minister when the project was first announced in 2002, said it was “long overdue”.

“For too long the people of Gauteng were hoping and dreaming about the day when our public transport systems were on a par with the rest of the world,” he said.

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