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Why China Has the Best Railways in the World

为什么中国拥有世界上最好的铁路系统?



Hey, you like speed? Well, China has the largest network of high-speed trains in the world.It stretches a whopping 15,500 miles all over the country. But while that all sounds impressive,I can't help but wonder why they’d spend a fortune on building such a vast bullet train network when airplanes exist? Well, here’s what I found out!Let's say you need to get from Beijing to Hong Kong. I bet the first idea that comes to your mind is, "Why not catch a plane? It’ll be the fastest way to get there!" But are you sure about that?

嘿,你们喜欢速度吗?中国拥有世界上最庞大的高速铁路网络。中国境内的高速铁路里程达到了15500英里。虽然这听起来十分牛逼,但是我不禁好奇,既然我们已经有飞机了,为什么他们还要花那么多钱去建造一个如此庞大的高铁网络呢?我们将在今天找到这个问题的答案。让我们假设你得从北京前往香港。我想你的心里冒出来的第一个想法会是:为什么不坐飞机呢?这绝对会是最快的出行方式!”然而事实真得如此吗?



But the most important thing is the price! You can hand over as much as $500 for a Beijing-Hong Kong plane trip. But the same journey by train will cost you much less: around $150. As for the travel time, a train trip is 5 hours longer, that's true. But you should remember that the 3 hours and 40 minutes it takes to get from Beijing to Hong Kong is only the duration of the flight. If you add here all the delays, security checks, commute to the airport…commute from the other airport. Well, you get the picture.

不过最重要的事情自然是价格啦!你最多需要为一张从北京飞往香港的机票支付500美元,然而高铁票价则要便宜很多,大约在150美元。至于旅程时间,搭乘高铁所耗费的时间会多5个小时,这倒是真的。但是你必须知道,从北京飞往香港的3小时40分钟仅仅是飞行时间而已。你还得把延误,安检,花费在各类机场程序上的时间也算进去,此外,还有你在目的地机场所花费的时间。这些流程(所需要消耗的时间)你们都懂的。

Nowadays almost all Chinese travelers pick high-speed trains over planes if they need to travel less than 500 miles, or about the distance between San Diego and Sacramento,California. While travel time doesn't differ that much (considering airport security checks,train-airport-plane-train again), the train ticket price is usually twice or even three times lower! For example, to get from Hong Kong to Changsha by plane, you need 3 hours and 35 minutes and up to $330. But if you opt for the bullet train, you'll save both time and money: the journey will take you 3 hours and 12 minutes and will cost just about 76 bucks.

如今几乎所有的中国旅客在出行距离不到500英里时(大约是从圣地亚哥到萨克拉门托的距离)都会选择高铁,而非飞机。虽然两者的出行时间并无太多的区别(考虑到机场安检,以及乘坐飞机时需要换乘各类交通工具),但是高铁的票价往往会比机票便宜两三倍!打比方说,如果你选择坐飞机从香港前往长沙,你会在途中花费3小时35分钟,票将则为330美元。然而如果你选择高铁的话,这段旅程仅仅会花费你3小时12分钟,而且票价仅为76美元。



But how does China manage to keep the costs so low when compared to the US and Europe?
Well, salaries in China are significantly lower than in the West, which means less money goes to construction workers. Also, high-speed railroads are built with the help of local materials, and that's great for both saving money and supporting the regional economy.But the most important thing is that all railroad parts, such as tracks and embankments, are all standardized. This means that producers can just press "copy-paste" to make the next bridge part, which, as you understand, significantly cuts the costs.

但是问题在于,与美国和欧洲相比,为何中国能够将高铁建设成本维持在如此低的水平呢?首先中国工人的工资比西方工人低很多,这就意味着他们花在建筑工人工资上的钱会更少。此外,高铁建筑材料通常都来自当地,这同样也大大节省了资金,并且对当地经济也起到了
促进作用。但是最为重要的原因则在于,中国高铁所有的建造部件,如铁轨和路堤等都是标准化生产的。这就意味着生产商只需要按下“复制-粘贴”键就可以为所有中国高铁路线供件。因此,这将极为显著地减低成本。

What's more, Chinese high-speed rail lines include a lot of viaducts. Even being costly themselves, they both save farmland and help trains move across rivers. On top of that,there's one trick that makes their production cheaper too. Yep, it’s that standardization thing yet again! What I mean is that you probably won't see a breathtaking variety of different viaduct designs. Also, bridge beams are either 78 or 104 feet long, and no other choices are available. By the way, all these beams are produced in temporary factories located along the future railway, so there’s no need to transport the beams for distances over 5 miles.

更为重要的是,中国的高铁包含了大量的高架桥线路,虽然这些高架桥本身造价昂贵,但是这样做既节约了耕地,又能够帮助列车穿过河流。除此以外,他们还有一个办法使自己的产品的造价变得更加便宜,是的,这个办法再次涉及标准化建设!我的意思是,你们可能无法在那里看到各式各样千奇百怪的高架桥设计。所有高铁高架桥立柱的高度都是78英尺或者104英尺,没有其他的选项。顺便说下,所有这些桥体结构都是在高铁沿线的临时工厂中生产的,所以这些桥梁结构的运输距离不会超过5英里。



And last but not least, China doesn't only have the biggest high-speed train network on the planet but also the world's fastest train! Shanghai Maglev (aka Shanghai Transrapid) runs from Shanghai Pudong Airport to Longyang Road Station, where passengers can interchange to Shanghai Metro Line 2 to get to the city center. The train's top speed reaches a mind-blowing 268 miles per hour, so it takes just 8 minutes to travel 19 miles! However, to get to or from the airport, most passengers still prefer to use the subway since it’s a much cheaper alternative to the Maglev train. But, hey, if time is money, then I’d probably be willing to pay for the convenience! Plus, how cool would it be to look out the window while zooming by at top speeds!

最后同样重要的是:中国不仅仅是拥有这个星球身最庞大的高铁网络,他们还拥有世界上最快的列车!上海磁悬浮列车运行在上海浦东机场和龙阳路站之间,乘客们同样可以搭乘2号线抵达市中心。这列火车的最高时速为惊人的268英里,所以只需要8分钟便可以行驶19英里。然而大部分乘客依旧更倾向于选择地铁作为前往或者离开机场时的交通工具,因为地铁的价格比磁悬浮列车额便宜很多。但是嘿~如果时间就是金钱的话,那么我很可能会愿意为这种方便付钱!此外,当列车以最快的速度飞驰而过时,坐在车内看窗外的场景该会多么酷炫啊!

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