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.
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