China’s Worldwide Bullet-Train Initiative Reaches South Africa

Bloomberg reports that the China Railway Group is in discussions about building a high-speed railway in South Africa between Johannesburg and Durban. South Africa estimates that the project would cost $30 billion and would cut the travel time on the 350-mile route in half, to as little as three hours.

South Africa is hoping Chinese state-owned banks canprovide loans for the project, [China Railway chairman Li Changin] said on the sidelines of aChina-Africa investment forum, while China Railway wants SouthAfrica to contribute as much as 40 percent of the capital.

Earlier this year, China signed preliminary agreements offering engineering and construction support to California’s proposed Los Angeles-to-San Francisco high-speed train. At the time, the New York Times reported:

China’s rail ministry has an international reputation for speed and low costs, and is opening 1,200 miles of high-speed rail routes this year alone. China is moving rapidly to connect almost all of its own provincial capitals with bullet trains. 

Meanwhile, yesterday morning, rail service on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor seized up for an hour during the rush hour, due to a recurring voltage failure in the antiquated electrical system of America’s most heavily traveled railway.