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Why China Has the Best Railways in the World

為什么中國擁有世界上最好的鐵路系統?



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,你們喜歡速度嗎?中國擁有世界上最龐大的高速鐵路網絡。中國境內的高速鐵路里程達到了15500英里。雖然這聽起來十分牛逼,但是我不禁好奇,既然我們已經有飛機了,為什么他們還要花那么多錢去建造一個如此龐大的高鐵網絡呢?我們將在今天找到這個問題的答案。讓我們假設你得從北京前往香港。我想你的心里冒出來的第一個想法會是:為什么不坐飛機呢?這絕對會是最快的出行方式!”然而事實真得如此嗎?



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.

不過最重要的事情自然是價格啦!你最多需要為一張從北京飛往香港的機票支付500美元,然而高鐵票價則要便宜很多,大約在150美元。至于旅程時間,搭乘高鐵所耗費的時間會多5個小時,這倒是真的。但是你必須知道,從北京飛往香港的3小時40分鐘僅僅是飛行時間而已。你還得把延誤,安檢,花費在各類機場程序上的時間也算進去,此外,還有你在目的地機場所花費的時間。這些流程(所需要消耗的時間)你們都懂的。

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.

如今幾乎所有的中國旅客在出行距離不到500英里時(大約是從圣地亞哥到薩克拉門托的距離)都會選擇高鐵,而非飛機。雖然兩者的出行時間并無太多的區別(考慮到機場安檢,以及乘坐飛機時需要換乘各類交通工具),但是高鐵的票價往往會比機票便宜兩三倍!打比方說,如果你選擇坐飛機從香港前往長沙,你會在途中花費3小時35分鐘,票將則為330美元。然而如果你選擇高鐵的話,這段旅程僅僅會花費你3小時12分鐘,而且票價僅為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.

但是問題在于,與美國和歐洲相比,為何中國能夠將高鐵建設成本維持在如此低的水平呢?首先中國工人的工資比西方工人低很多,這就意味著他們花在建筑工人工資上的錢會更少。此外,高鐵建筑材料通常都來自當地,這同樣也大大節省了資金,并且對當地經濟也起到了
促進作用。但是最為重要的原因則在于,中國高鐵所有的建造部件,如鐵軌和路堤等都是標準化生產的。這就意味著生產商只需要按下“復制-粘貼”鍵就可以為所有中國高鐵路線供件。因此,這將極為顯著地減低成本。

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.

更為重要的是,中國的高鐵包含了大量的高架橋線路,雖然這些高架橋本身造價昂貴,但是這樣做既節約了耕地,又能夠幫助列車穿過河流。除此以外,他們還有一個辦法使自己的產品的造價變得更加便宜,是的,這個辦法再次涉及標準化建設!我的意思是,你們可能無法在那里看到各式各樣千奇百怪的高架橋設計。所有高鐵高架橋立柱的高度都是78英尺或者104英尺,沒有其他的選項。順便說下,所有這些橋體結構都是在高鐵沿線的臨時工廠中生產的,所以這些橋梁結構的運輸距離不會超過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!

最后同樣重要的是:中國不僅僅是擁有這個星球身最龐大的高鐵網絡,他們還擁有世界上最快的列車!上海磁懸浮列車運行在上海浦東機場和龍陽路站之間,乘客們同樣可以搭乘2號線抵達市中心。這列火車的最高時速為驚人的268英里,所以只需要8分鐘便可以行駛19英里。然而大部分乘客依舊更傾向于選擇地鐵作為前往或者離開機場時的交通工具,因為地鐵的價格比磁懸浮列車額便宜很多。但是嘿~如果時間就是金錢的話,那么我很可能會愿意為這種方便付錢!此外,當列車以最快的速度飛馳而過時,坐在車內看窗外的場景該會多么酷炫??!

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