Why China Is so Good at Building Railways

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Why China Is so Good at Building Railways 4.5


Animation by Josh Sherrington
Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster

Special thanks to Patreon supporters
Alec Watson, Andrew J Thom, Braam Snyman, Bryan Yip, Chris Allen, Chris Barker, Connor J Smith, Daddy Donald, Etienne Dechamps, Eyal Matsliah, Hank Green, Harry Hendel, James Hughes, James McIntosh, John & Becki, Johnston, Keith Bopp, Kelly J Knight, Ken Lee, KyQuan, Phong, manoj kasyap govindaraju, Plinio Correa, Qui Le, Robin Pulkkinen, Sheldon Zhao, Simen Nerleir, Tim Robinson

Air China 747 landing shot courtesy ZurichAirportSpotter
China Eastern 737 takeoff shot courtesy PDX Aviation
Tibet railway shots courtesy Steven Chen and PK Long

Select footage courtesy the AP Archive

💬 Comments

I've always preferred the train to a plane.

Author — NathanWilson


America has Nike, China has "Just do it".

Author — Cd


China is so good at building railways is because they have Political will for high speed trains

Author — Kereta Densha


relatively small city with a population of 3.5 million

Toronto(Canada's largest city) - 3.2 million population -.-'

Author — QingYun


The western ignore one thing, train is a public service in China to some degree, we can not always consider of making money in every thing

Author — Steven Peng


Small town - 3.5m, my whole country Croatia.. 3.5million...

Author — FSXNOOB - GᗩᗰᕮS & ᗰOᖇᕮ


China:要想富先修路。Translation:”If you want to get rich, build a road first.”
Western: politics.

Author — knight hollow


you can not build a road when you need it. you need to build it to make you need it. Waiting a city grow bigger and richer then start to build is not sensible, you should build the road first, connect the place with the big market to make the city bigger and richer. That's the most different part between China and West, the Chinese government is usually focus on long term plan, many project is not reasonable and low economical efficiency for now, but what about 10or 20 years later ? Of course it is an influence by the politic system, but for country development, it is an advantage.

Author — xin yang


USA oil companies and flight companies will try everything to stop the development of high speed railways in North America. Lobby.

Author — dong wang


I've been visiting France for a few months and I love having the option of trains... But now I want to go to china and check those out.

Author — Jeremy Pajot


1:25 writing from the future... China now has TWICE as much high-speed track as the rest of the world put together. 2/3rds of the global high-speed track is now in China.

Author — Lenard Segnitz


Meanwhile in us: we will build a wall 😂

Author — Wilfred Makmur


High speed train is not about only long routes, it is also beneficial for smaller routes as well. For example, I had a conference in He Chuan (合川), which is 138 km from Chongqing(重庆). I took the train from Chongqing, the ticket price was around 4 dollars and I reached to Hechuan in 28 minutes, cheaper, comfortable and convenient. It is one of the best mode of transportation, not only for longer routes but for shorter routes as well.

Author — Shanky Chandra


when you think building high-speed railway is an engineering problem, wendover talks all about politics.

Author — TUO LI


China might just built another 20 miles while you were talking about this

Author — AZHO FANG


The trains are subsidized. That's when a govt makes a decision to do something decent for its people not everything is about economical gain somethings are about social gains

Author — samuel fitzpatrick


Man, the economic benefits of high-speed rail are not only just “train tickets”

Author — Ben WONG


First, China has more coal and less oil. Coal mines generate electricity for high-speed railways. Aviation kerosene for aircraft, China lacks. This is from a strategic perspective and cannot be choked. Second, high-speed railway not only transports passengers, but also transports goods to promote economic growth. This is why China's logistics industry leads the world so much! Third, the Chinese Communist Party regards all infrastructure construction as its own party property. It belongs to all Chinese people. The Communist Party doesn't care about short-term interests, they pursue long-term interests. On the contrary, the West pursues capitalism. Public facilities are owned by a multinational company. There was no short-term benefit and no company would do it!

Author — Chuanfeng Liu


I was amazed by how fast & steady the chinese highspeed train was when I train-traveled across China.
I've learned the China style:
No IBM-International big mouth! but NIKE-just do it!
Get things done quicker.
Move things foward faster!👍👍

Author — lost lagon


Well.. I'm not surprised. After all China had long tradition on making infrastructure since the era of Warring States Period, such as Qin Dynasty (Imperial / National Highway Road), Han Dynasty (Silk Road), etc

For Chinese Government, better infrastructure (including Railways), mean better economy for PRC. Moreover they want to create "Belt and Road Initiative".

Author — Inspect History