Beijing to Shanghai high-speed rail line to open

High-rise buildings are seen from the financial district of Shanghai.

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The long-anticipated bullet train that will connect China's two most important cities had its first trial run today. The Shanghai-to-Beijing high-speed train is the latest addition to what is now the most extensive high-speed network in the world.

But as Marketplace China Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz reports, there have been some bumps along the way.

ROB SCHMITZ: In just eight years, China's become the bullet train capitol of the world. President Obama's pointed to it as a model for high-speed rail. But lately it's squeaky clean image has been tarnished. China admitted the man in charge of its railway ministry was allegedly involved in embezzling millions from the Beijing-Shanghai project.

John Scales is a transportation specialist at the World Bank in Beijing.

JOHN SCALES: Aindications from the government and our own dealings with the ministry of railways is that the Chinese government has confirmed that the mid and long term development plan is still valid.

That plan is to have 8,000 miles of high-speed rail by the end of the year, and twice that by 2020. The train between Beijing and Shanghai will take less than five hours to cover a distance that's more or less equal to the distance between New York City and Chicago. It'll start running in June.

In Shanghai, I'm Rob Schmitz, for Marketplace.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.
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I think that it’s a great idea China is constructing a high speed rail line that will travel from one of its two largest cities to the other. Both Beijing and Shanghai are big on tourism and this addition of a high speed rail connecting the two will definitely support China’s capital in terms of tourism. People will be more likely to travel to both cities during their stay with the option of taking a 5 hour high speed rail rather than a 12 hour train. I support Obama’s statement about the states using China as a model for public transportation. High speed rails connecting different cities and states could really be beneficial to Americans.

I think that America should learn from China and start expanding and improving public transportation. Especially in Mid-West States, the U.S government should build similar transportation as Beijing subway and bus transit system. As a capitalist country, you would think that the U.S would have the best public transportation for their workers and tax payers. Although China will have one of the fastest transportation they and the U.S still need improvement for the future.

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