The Lunar New Year has almost arrived, and China is preparing to live it. The offices and factories will be closed to allow the celebrations to all, and the country will see almost all of its 1.4 billion inhabitants on the move to return home to celebrate, with their loved ones, this important event. The most used means of transport will be the high-speed train.
Indeed, there will be 400 million Chinese people who will use the vast Chinese railway line for travel. China’s high-speed network is considered the longest in the world, yet the central government seems ready to allocate 3.5 trillion yuan (about 556 billion dollars!) to expand its rail system by 18%, which would reach 150,000 km more than the current length.
The rest of the world is devaluing the train journey, preferring the movement on the plane, but not China. Seeing that in the last Spring Festival, China recorded a record 10.96 million trips in one day.
But the great railway network of China is a recent phenomenon, just think that 10 years ago the railway network was almost absent. Nevertheless, between 2013 and 2017, the country has begun to develop a vast network of connections, which in 2025, according to plan, will see a further extension with new lines that will connect the whole nation.
Sun Zhang, a railway expert at Tongji University in Shanghai, said: “These lines provide ample capacity during peak travel periods such as the Lunar New Year and in other times can stimulate growth in tourism and other businesses in the service sector in western China”.
The last line that was inaugurated, connects Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, to Xian, a city in north-western China. The maximum speed reached by the train is 250 km/h and the railway crosses a mountainous region in a quarter of the time compared to a normal train. The ticket price is half the price requested by the plane: 263 yuan (42 dollars).