China vs Japan: High stakes in high speed rail

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 6.13.45 PMIt’s one of the keenest race in the world – giant high speed train manufacturers, China and Japan vying for billion dollar jobs globally. Right now, the race seems to skew towards China, with the late bloomer in fast trains grabbing deals around the world including in the US and a recent one in Indonesia. It however just lost out to Japan in India where Japan has promised easy financing for the USD14.6bil Mumbai-Ahmedabad line. The Chinese however are hopeful that the tide would turn in their favour on other routes considered for high speed rail in India. Joint India-China feasibility studies are currently being conducted on potential high speed rail tracks on the 2,200km Chennai-Delhi route and the 1,200km New Delhi-Mumbai corridor. Another high stakes high speed rail up for grabs is the upcoming HSR between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The short 330km line has been years in planning and is now confirmed and expected to be completed in 2020. Though comparatively short, the deal has attracted the attention of the South Koreans and a consortium of European companies as well, largely due to its lucrative amount.

Meanwhile, within China, more and more HSR are being constructed and completed, connecting and opening up more areas of the huge hinterland. Separately, Futian, dubbed Asia’s largest underground railway station has just recently opened for business. Second in the world only to New York’s Grand Central Terminal, Futian’s giant complex covers a total area of 147,000 sqm, or about the size of 21 football fields. The opening of Futian is another landmark in the completion of the Guangzhou-Shenzen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link. The final phase of the line, connecting Shenzhen-Futian to Hong Kong (Kowloon), is under construction and is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2018. Upon completion, the estimated journey time will be reduced to 14 minutes between West Kowloon Terminus and the newly opened Futian station, 23 minutes between Hong Kong and Shenzhen North and 48 minutes between Hong Kong and Guangzhou South.

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