CH — LARRY ROMANOFF — 中国的高速列车。美国,你在哪里?– 2022年5月27日

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    China’s High-Speed Trains. America, Where are You?

    中国的高速列车。美国你在哪里

    By Larry Romanoff, May 27, 2022

     拉里·罗曼诺夫,2022年5月27日

    Introduction

     

     

    China has the world’s longest high-speed rail (HSR) network with some 38,000 kilometers in operation, (1) which comprises nearly 70% of all the world’s high-speed lines (2) and more than three times that of the entire European Union. (3) China has more than 2,500 high-speed trains in operation, more than all the rest of the world combined, (4) and it also has the fastest trains in operation anywhere, (5) with several generations now operating at speeds between 350 Km/h and 400 Km/h. Shanghai’s Maglev is still the fastest operating train in the world, (6) with sustained speeds of 430 Km/h. China’s rail system carries about 3.5 billion passengers per year, nearly 70% of these on high-speed trains. During the 40 days of China’s Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), passenger volume reached a peak of more than 400 million.

     中国拥有世界上最长的高铁(HSR)网络,运营里程约38000公里,(1)占世界所有高铁线路的近70%(2),是整个欧盟的三倍多。(3) 中国有2500多辆高速列车在运行,超过了世界其他所有国家的总和,(4)中国也有世界上运行速度最快的列车,(5)几代人现在的运行速度在350公里/小时到400公里/小时之间。上海的磁悬浮列车仍然是世界上运行速度最快的列车,(6) 中国的铁路系统每年运载约35亿乘客,其中近70%的乘客乘坐高速列车。在中国春节的40天里,客运量达到了4亿多人次的高峰。

    China’s High-Speed Rail Network

     中国高铁网络

     

    The Chinese government planned the HSR program in part to compress passenger travel on these dedicated tracks and free much of the slower existing rail system for freight, to remove trucks from the nation’s highways, thus lowering costs and in turn making highways safer for automobiles. The Shanghai-Nanjing route for example has 38 trains each way each day – carrying perhaps 150,000 passengers, which frees a huge amount of track time for freight. China’s high-speed trains have dramatically reduced the travel time between most major centers. Shanghai-Beijing is down from 12 hours to 4; Shanghai-Nanjing from 4 hours to 1; Wuhan to Guangzhou from 14 hours to only 3 hours.

     中国政府规划高铁项目的部分目的是压缩这些专用轨道上的乘客出行,并将大部分速度较慢的现有铁路系统用于货运,将卡车从国家高速公路上移除,从而降低成本,进而使高速公路对汽车更安全。例如,沪宁线每天有38列火车,载客量约为150000人,这为货运节省了大量的轨道时间。中国的高速列车大大缩短了大多数主要中心之间的旅行时间。上海-北京从12小时降至4小时;上海南京从4小时到1小时;武汉到广州从14小时到只有3小时。

    There are always potential difficulties establishing routes due to the number of communities to serve and the consequent number of stops – which negate the advantage of high-speed trains. China seems to have arrived at an excellent solution. As an example, the 275 Km. route from Shanghai to Nanjing serves 6 communities between the two terminal stations, with some trains on this route travelling on an express basis and making no stops (1 hour), with others stopping at one or several cities on route, with different trains making different combinations of stops (1.5 hours). This has proven to be a convenient method to serve all cities on the route while still maintaining low average travel times.

     由于要服务的社区数量和随之而来的站点数量,建立路线总是存在潜在的困难,这否定了高速列车的优势。中国似乎已经找到了一个极好的解决方案。例如,275公里。从上海到南京的路线服务于两个终点站之间的6个社区,该路线上的一些列车以特快方式行驶,不停站(1小时),其他列车停在路线上的一个或多个城市,不同的列车会有不同的站组合(1.5小时)。事实证明,这是一种方便的方法,可以为路线上的所有城市提供服务,同时保持较低的平均出行时间。

    Many of the statistics and other information available online on China’s (and other) train travel are inaccurate at best, one website claiming China in 2019 had 1.4 trillion train passengers. Even Statista is quite inaccurate, confusing test runs of experimental trains with regular operating speeds of scheduled rail. (7) France’s TGV is listed at its maximum one-time test speed of 575 Km/h, when it operates at only 300 Km/h. Statista has operating speeds wrong too, listing China’s Fuxing at 418 Km and Hexie at 486 Km/h, which normally operate at only 300 and 350 Km/h although they have proven capable of operating at these higher sustained speeds.

     一家网站声称,2019年中国有1.4万亿名火车乘客,而网上关于中国(和其他)火车旅行的许多统计数据和其他信息充其量也不准确。即使是Statista也非常不准确,将试验列车的试运行与计划轨道的正常运行速度混淆。(7) 法国TGV的最高一次性测试速度为575公里/小时,而其运行速度仅为300公里/小时。Statista也有错误的运行速度,将中国的福兴列为418公里/小时,将河西列为486公里/小时,虽然他们已经证明能够在这些更高的持续速度下运行,但通常仅在300和350公里/小时的速度下运行。

    Train and Passenger Classes

     车和乘客等级

     

    China has three generations of high-speed trains in operation: G, D, and C. The G-trains are the fastest commercial-use high-speed trains in the world with speeds of 350 Km/h to 400 Km/h. The D-trains operate at 250 Km/h and the first-generation C at 200 Km/h. Below this, there are still the ‘normal’ trains with designations of Z, T, K, N and more. The Z, T and K trains run at 160 Km/h, 140 and 120. Slower trains are used for short rural trips where time is not so important.

     中国有三代高速列车在运行:G、D和C。G型列车是世界上速度最快的商用高速列车,速度为350公里/小时至400公里/小时。D型列车运行速度为250公里/小时,第一代C型列车运行速度为200公里/小时。除此之外,还有“普通”列车,其名称为Z、T、K,N及更多。Z、T和K列车的运行速度分别为160公里/小时、140公里/小时和120公里/小时。速度较慢的火车用于时间不太重要的农村短途旅行。

    These train alphabets are not nothing. I once took a G-train from Shanghai to Haining (the world-famous leather market), a trip of maybe 30 minutes if I recall correctly. I didn’t have a return ticket since I wasn’t certain of my return time, so I simply asked the wicket lady to put me on “the next train to Shanghai”. That was a big mistake. N-train. Ten kilometers per hour on the flat, much less uphill. That train stopped at every town, village, pig farm and strawberry patch on its way to Shanghai, and many times we had to pull off the track to permit a faster train to go by. Two and half hours to return home. I wondered why the ticket was so cheap. The kind of mistake you make only once.

     这些火车字母表不是什么。有一次,我从上海坐火车到海宁(世界著名的皮革市场),如果我没记错的话,大概要30分钟。我没有回程票,因为我不确定我的回程时间,所以我只是让女检票员给我安排“下一班去上海的火车”。那是一个很大的错误。N-列车。在平地上每小时10公里,更不用说上坡了。那列火车在去上海的路上,在每个城镇、村庄、养猪场和草莓地都停了下来,很多次我们不得不停在铁轨上,以便让一辆更快的火车通过。两个半小时回家。我想知道为什么这张票这么便宜。那种你只会犯一次的错误。

    I would note too that punctuality is a hallmark of Chinese transportation generally, this certainly applying to the HSR network. If the schedule states the departure time as 11:02, then at 11:02 the doors silently close and the train is moving. I’ve experienced a few departure delays, typically due to an arrival that is late, but usually by only 5 or 10 minutes. I don’t have available the percentage of on-time departures and arrivals but it must be in the high 90s.

     我还要指出,准时是中国交通的一个标志,这当然适用于高铁网络。如果时刻表规定发车时间为11:02,则在11:02,车门会自动关闭,列车将运行。我经历过几次起飞延误,通常是因为抵达时间晚了,但通常只有5到10分钟。我没有提供准时出发和到达的百分比,但一定是在90年代。

    These high-speed trains typically have cars that are First-Class, Second-Class and Business Class, and trains not dedicated to short runs have sleeper cars which are very clean and perfectly comfortable even in older trains, the later generations offering lovely duvets, a separate TV for each bunk, electrical outlets, lights, Wi-Fi. Regular sleepers have four bunks to a room while the highest grade has only two berths to a compartment, suitable for couples, and equipped with a sofa, a wardrobe, and private bathroom. Sleepers typically carry a 25% or 30% cost premium over regular seats.

     这些高速列车通常有头等、二等和公务舱车厢,而非短途列车有卧铺车厢,即使在旧列车上,卧铺车厢也非常干净、非常舒适,后来的几代列车提供可爱的被褥、每个铺位的独立电视、电源插座、电灯、Wi-Fi。普通卧铺有四个铺位到一个房间,而最高档的卧铺只有两个铺位到一个隔间,适合情侣,并配有沙发、衣柜和私人浴室。卧铺通常比普通座位高出25%或30%的成本。

    Business Class

     务舱

     

    These offer a pleasant alternative to air travel for the typically rushed and pressurised one-day business trips, for example from Shanghai to Guangzhou or Hong Kong. We board our train in the evening after dinner, do a bit of work or watch TV, and awake at 7:00 AM downtown at our destination, with enough time for breakfast before our first meeting. On the return trip, we have a leisurely dinner with friends, board the train across the street, and awake at 7:00 AM back in Shanghai. With two full nights’ sleep, there is no jet lag and no residual fatigue.

     对于通常匆忙而紧张的一天商务旅行,例如从上海到广州或香港的旅行,这些旅行为航空旅行提供了一个愉快的选择。我们在晚餐后登上火车,做一些工作或看电视,早上7:00在市中心的目的地醒来,在第一次见面之前有足够的时间吃早餐。在回程中,我们与朋友悠闲地共进晚餐,在街对面登上火车,早上7:00醒来回到上海。只要睡两个晚上,就不会有时差反应,也不会有残余的疲劳。

    Here are some typical ticket prices:

    以下是一些典型的票价:

    G-train

    G-

     

    Beijing-Shanghai, 1,350 Kms; 350 Km/h (4 hours)

    北京-上海,1350公里;350公里/小时(4小时)

    2nd Class, 550 RMB ($80)

    二等舱,550元人民币(80美元)

    1st Class, 900 RMB ($135)

    头等舱,900元人民币(135美元)

    Business Class, 1,700 ($250)

    商务舱,1700美元(250美元)

    D-Train

    D-

    Kunming-Lijiang, 500 Kms; 250 Km/h (2 hours)

    昆明丽江,500公里;250公里/小时(2小时)

    2nd Class, 220 RMB ($30)

    二等舱,220元人民币(30美元)

    1st Class, 350 RMB ($50)

    头等舱,350元人民币(50美元)

    C-Train

    C-

    Beijing-Tianjin, 125 Kms; 200 Km/h (1 hour+)

    京津,125公里;200公里/小时(1小时以上)

    2nd Class, 55 RMB ($8)

    二等舱,55元人民币(8美元)

    1st Class, 90 RMB ($13)

    头等舱,90元人民币(13美元)

    It’s almost impossible to compare train fares with the US because in China the fares vary only by distance and train type. Amtrak has a fare schedule that on first approach appears occult, apparently following the convoluted airline model of changing fares by time of departure and other secret paranormal factors, so a particular price could be almost anywhere. On some routes, twice the distance costs half the price. Still, they appear to be much higher than in China by a factor of perhaps 5 or more.

     几乎不可能将火车票价与美国进行比较,因为在中国,票价只因距离和火车类型而异。美铁有一个票价表,在第一种方法中似乎是神秘的,显然遵循了复杂的航空公司模型,即根据出发时间和其他神秘的超自然因素改变票价,因此特定的价格几乎可以在任何地方。在一些路线上,两倍的距离花费一半的价格。尽管如此,它们似乎比中国高出了5倍或更多。

    China’s Maglev Trains

    中国磁悬浮列车

    The first Maglev train in China was a Siemens design installed in Shanghai, with service beginning in 2004. It was until recently the world’s only regularly-scheduled operating Maglev (at 430 Km/h), but now they are becoming common in China. Maglev technology is simple in principle at low speeds, but smoothness and stability at high speed are exceptionally complicated. Maglevs have a higher level of safety in that they cannot be derailed since they ‘wrap around’ the track, and maintenance costs are low compared to rail trains because there is no wear on the track bed and few moving parts to degrade or require maintenance and replacement.

     中国第一列磁悬浮列车是西门子设计的安装在上海的列车,于2004年开始运营。直到最近,它还是世界上唯一定期运行的磁悬浮列车(时速430公里),但现在它们在中国越来越普遍。磁悬浮技术在低速时原理简单,但在高速时的平稳性和稳定性异常复杂。Maglev具有更高的安全性,因为它们不会脱轨,因为它们“缠绕”在轨道上,与铁路列车相比,维护成本较低,因为道床上没有磨损,很少有移动部件降级或需要维护和更换。

    Chinese engineers initially produced quite successful low-speed Maglevs (200 Km/h) entirely on their own IP, for use throughout China as city trains, done to gain experience and develop their own proprietary designs and technology. These trains are now operating in Beijing, Changsha, and other cities, running on short local routes. There are few other Maglev trains in existence. Korea built a Maglev track to shuttle visitors at the Daejeon Expo, which still runs the few kilometers between the Expo Park and the National Science Museum, but it is very slow, and another in 2016 that runs only a few kilometers between the airport and a subway station, also very slow. Japan built its first “commercial maglev line” in 2005, with a route less than 10 kilometers and a maximum speed of only 100 Km/h – about the same as Shanghai’s new subway lines.

     中国工程师最初完全在自己的IP上生产出相当成功的低速磁悬浮列车(200公里/小时),在中国各地用作城市列车,以获取经验并开发自己的专有设计和技术。这些列车现在在北京、长沙和其他城市运营,运行的是短途本地线路。现有的其他磁悬浮列车很少。韩国在大田世博会上修建了一条磁浮轨道,以接送游客。这条轨道在世博园和国家科学馆之间仍有几公里的距离,但速度非常慢。2016年,另一条轨道在机场和地铁站之间只有几公里的距离,速度也非常慢。日本于2005年建造了第一条“商业磁悬浮线路”,线路不到10公里,最高时速只有100公里/小时,与上海的新地铁线路大致相同。

    China’s 600 Km/h Maglev

     中国时速600公里的磁悬浮列车

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-yJjIoZ11M

     

    In addition to billions poured into R&D for regular HSR trains, Chinese engineers continued their Maglev research at a brisk pace, and have pushed Maglev technology to the point where China is now beginning commercial production of a fabulous 600 Km/h (nearly 400 Mph) Maglev which will replace traditional high-speed rail on many routes. (8) (9) Engineers spent much time on wind tunnel testing of the design of the locomotives and cars to reduce air resistance to a minimum, greatly assisting both high speed and stability. Chinese engineers have managed, again on their own IP, to bring down the cost for this very fast train to only two-thirds that of regular high-speed trains. This new Maglev will help to fill the gap between regular HSR and airplanes that fly at 900 Km/h or more, and it is likely that this gap will be closed further.

     除了投入数十亿美元用于常规高铁列车的研发外,中国工程师们还继续快速进行磁悬浮研究,并将磁悬浮技术推向了一个新的高度,即中国目前正在开始商业化生产速度惊人的600公里/小时(近400英里/小时)磁悬浮列车,这将在许多线路上取代传统的高速铁路。(8) (9)工程师们花了大量时间对机车和汽车的设计进行风洞试验,以将空气阻力降至最低,极大地提高了速度和稳定性。中国工程师再次利用自己的知识产权,将这列非常快的列车的成本降低到普通高速列车的三分之二。这种新型磁浮技术将有助于填补普通高铁与时速900公里或以上的飞机之间的差距,而且这一差距可能会进一步缩小。

    The Changes

    It is now legendary that when the Chinese government set its mind to an objective, it doesn’t waste time. Everything you have read above has happened in only the past 16 years. “At the beginning of the 21st century China had no high-speed railways. Slow and often uncomfortable trains plodded across this vast country, with low average speeds making journeys such as Shanghai-Beijing a test of travel endurance. Today, it’s a completely different picture. [China] has . . . the world’s largest network of high-speed railways, and all have been completed since 2008.” (10)

     现在的传说是,当中国政府决心实现一个目标时,它不会浪费时间。你所读到的一切都发生在过去的16年里。“在21世纪初,中国没有高速铁路。缓慢且常常让人不舒服的火车在这个幅员辽阔的国家缓慢前行,平均速度较低,使得像上海-北京这样的旅行成为对旅行耐力的考验。今天,情况完全不同了。[中国]有世界上最大的高速铁路网,自2008年以来已全部建成。” (10)

    An aside: A Brief Note on Subways

     旁白关于地铁的简要说

     

    Subways are not exactly high-speed rail, although China’s new trains are pushing the envelope in this area as well, at least up to 100 Km/h (almost as fast as American high-speed trains). However, another example of the Chinese not wasting time when they decide to do something. Shanghai and other major cities have set an objective that every place within the inner cities is within about 5 city blocks of a subway station. Here is a list of a few major cities with the current length of subway track and the time required to reach that level: (11)

     地铁并不是真正的高速铁路,尽管中国的新列车也在这一领域取得了突破,至少达到了100公里/小时(几乎与美国的高速列车一样快)。然而,另一个中国人在决定做某事时不浪费时间的例子。上海和其他主要城市制定了一个目标,即市中心的每个地方都在距离地铁站约5个街区的范围内。以下是一些主要城市的地铁线路长度以及达到该水平所需的时间列表:(11)

    London 131 years, 400 Kms.

    伦敦131年,400公里。

    Paris 122 years, 225 Kms.

    巴黎122年,225公里。

    Berlin 119 years, 148 Kms.

    柏林119年,148公里。

    New York 113 years, 399 Kms.

    纽约113年,399公里。

    Shanghai 28 years, 900 Kms.

    上海28年,900公里。

    The Pleasures of Train Travel

    车旅行的乐

    One of the great advantages of HSR (High-Speed Rail) train travel compared to flying is the saving in wasted time. A flight in most any country normally involves a one-hour trip to the airport with a requirement to arrive at least 1.5 hours prior to departure which is frequently subject to delays. At the arrival end, there is always the seemingly long wait to deplane, the long walk to the baggage carousels and the exits, then the one hour or more trip downtown.

     与乘飞机相比,高铁(HSR)列车旅行的最大优势之一是节省浪费的时间。在大多数国家,航班通常需要一个小时到达机场,要求至少在起飞前1.5小时到达,这经常会造成延误。到达终点时,总是要等待很长时间才能下飞机,要走很长的路才能到达行李传送带和出口,然后还要走一个多小时才能到达市中心。

    When we take into account the commute and the necessary pre-departure allowance for check-in and security clearance and the 2-Km walk to the departure gate, then the post-arrival delays and the commute downtown at our destination, trains are equal to flying in trips up to 1,500 Kms, and much faster than flying for shorter trips while also being less expensive. The frequency of departures, at least between major centers in China is astonishing, the Shanghai-Beijing route having some 75 or 80 HSR trains each way each day, often leaving less than 10 minutes apart with as many as 2,000 passengers (two trains linked into 16 cars). Many other routes are similar. The same is true with airlines in China, with flights seemingly departing from everywhere to everywhere every 30 minutes or so.

     当我们考虑到通勤和必要的出发前津贴,以便办理登机手续和安全检查,以及步行2公里到登机口,然后考虑到到达后的延误和目的地的市区通勤,火车相当于飞行1500公里,而且比短途旅行要快得多,同时也便宜得多。至少在中国主要中心之间的发车频率令人惊讶,上海至北京路线每天有大约75或80列高铁列车,通常间隔不到10分钟,乘客多达2000人(两列列车连接16节车厢)。许多其他路线都类似。中国的航空公司也是如此,每30分钟左右就有一班航班从世界各地飞往世界各地。

    In China (and in most cities everywhere), the railway stations are downtown so the commute is minimal, one arriving at the station with luggage in hand only 20 or 30 minutes before departure. There is no ‘check-in’ process as with the airlines, only the usual security check and luggage scanners when entering the station where you can spend time in comfortable waiting rooms or simply find the correct platform and board your train. Even though many stations are huge, walking distances are normally much shorter than in most airports. At the destination, since that station is also downtown, taxis and subways are conveniently at hand. Also, in many cities airports and train stations are next door to each other, conveniently facilitating travel continuation.

     在中国(以及世界各地的大多数城市),火车站都在市中心,因此通勤时间很短,一个人在出发前20或30分钟就带着行李到达火车站。与航空公司一样,没有“值机”流程,只有通常的安检和行李扫描仪进入车站,在那里你可以在舒适的候车室待上一段时间,或者简单地找到正确的站台并上车。尽管许多车站很大,但步行距离通常比大多数机场短得多。在目的地,由于该站也是市中心,出租车和地铁都很方便。此外,在许多城市,机场和火车站彼此相邻,方便了旅行的继续。

    Another advantage of train travel is the considerable convenience and comfort, trains being much superior in both categories with an absence of pressure and time apprehension. Trains eliminate most unpleasant elements of air travel, with the attraction of being able to see the countryside. On a plane, we are forced to adhere to a rigid schedule: the time for coffee or a meal, the time to close the window curtains and darken the cabin so the staff can rest. If the food cart is out, you cannot get up to walk around or go to the bathroom. Everything seems regulated and under pressure. Leaving your seat is often a major inconvenience. By contrast, on a train you are free to do as you please. Your luggage is accessible at any time, the food carts come by regularly, the dining car is always there, seats have twice the leg room, the aisles are wide enough to accommodate passengers; everything much more relaxed, pleasant, and enjoyable. And you have the advantage of constant Wi-Fi and GPS signals, with AC power and USB outlets usually available at your seat.

     火车旅行的另一个优点是相当方便和舒适,火车在这两种类型上都非常优越,没有压力和时间恐惧。火车消除了航空旅行中最令人不快的因素,它的吸引力在于能够看到乡村。在飞机上,我们不得不坚持一个严格的时间表:喝咖啡或吃饭的时间,关上窗帘和把机舱调暗以便工作人员休息的时间。如果食品车坏了,你就不能起来四处走动或上厕所。一切似乎都受到监管和压力。离开座位通常是一大不便。相比之下,在火车上你可以随心所欲。您的行李可以随时取用,餐车定期来,餐车总是在那里,座位有两倍的腿部空间,过道足够宽,可以容纳乘客;一切都更加轻松、愉快和愉快。此外,您还可以获得恒定的Wi-Fi和GPS信号,座位上通常有交流电源和USB插座。

    China’s high-speed trains are very quiet, without wind noise, and mercifully free of the incessant hum of aircraft engines and, with the flawlessly-welded rails, even the soft clacking of the rails is gone (I rather miss that). The seats are as wide or wider than airline business class, they recline partially (recline fully in business class) and, with the comfort and silence, it is very easy to sleep on a train. I would add that you are more alert (and healthier) on a train because aircraft are pressurised to 8,000 feet; you don’t normally go above 10,000 feet without supplementary oxygen.

     中国的高速列车非常安静,没有风的噪音,幸运的是没有了飞机发动机不停的嗡嗡声,而且,有了完美的焊接钢轨,甚至连钢轨的轻微咔哒声都消失了(我很怀念这一点)。座位比航空公司公务舱宽或宽,部分倾斜(公务舱完全倾斜),舒适安静,很容易在火车上睡觉。我想补充一点,在火车上你会更加警觉(也更健康),因为飞机的压力高达8000英尺;如果没有补充氧气,你通常不会超过10000英尺。

    They are also very steady. China has the highest standards for stabilising high-speed trains in their longitudinal, lateral and vertical dimensions, a rail expert stating “It is no exaggeration to say the Beijing-Shanghai rail lines were built with the highest standards in the modern world. China leads the world in rail stability.” Here is a Xinhua video of one of China’s high-speed trains where a coin rests on its edge on a windowsill for more than 8 minutes before it finally falls over – this at 350 Kms per hour. (12)

    他们也非常稳定。一位铁路专家表示,中国拥有最高的高速列车纵向、横向和纵向稳定性标准,“可以毫不夸张地说,京沪铁路线是按照现代世界最高标准建造的。中国在铁路稳定性方面领先世界。”这是一段新华社的视频,拍摄的是中国的一列高速列车,一枚硬币在窗台上的边缘停留了8分钟多,最后以每小时350公里的速度掉落。(12)

    https://youtu.be/fumYdO9XknE

    A Bit of Background

     一点背景知

    “High-speed rail” emerged first in Japan in the early 1960s with the construction of the Shinkansen ‘bullet train’ which wasn’t really all that fast at only 160 Km/h, but such speeds were unheard of in those days and the train was a world marvel. The European countries, led by Germany (Siemens) and France (Alstom), followed in the 1980s, with Canada’s Bombardier joining the group at about the same time. Nothing much was done outside of Europe, though the Europeans did embrace high-speed train travel and made good design progress.

     20世纪60年代初,随着新干线“子弹头列车”的建造,“高铁”首先出现在日本,它的速度并不那么快,只有160公里/小时,但这种速度在当时是闻所未闻的,这列列车是一个世界奇迹。20世纪80年代,以德国(西门子)和法国(阿尔斯通)为首的欧洲国家紧随其后,加拿大的庞巴迪(Bombardier)几乎同时加入了该集团。欧洲以外没有做什么,尽管欧洲人确实接受了高速列车旅行,并取得了良好的设计进展。

    It was widely assumed initially that there was no market for train travel, that the world would follow the North American model and rely primarily on the auto with the airlines as long-distance backup. But more than 40 years ago Chinese government officials saw the potential and disagreed, and began planning what would become the world’s largest HSR network, with enormous sums invested in the project. One expert wrote, “Chinese engineers have exhibited enormous ingenuity and creativity and are still aggressively pushing the rail technology envelope.” It is generally agreed that China’s success in high-speed rail development and its cost reduction, has resulted in “validating the feasibility of widespread adoption and greater affordability. Developing countries are particularly grateful that China has brought the cost of HSR to affordable levels.” One expert wrote, “It appears now that China will dominate the HSR market for the foreseeable future.”

     最初人们普遍认为,火车旅行没有市场,世界将遵循北美模式,主要依靠汽车和航空公司作为长途后备。但40多年前,中国政府官员看到了这一潜力并表示反对,于是开始计划建设世界上最大的高铁网络,并为此投入巨额资金。一位专家写道:“中国工程师展现了巨大的创造力和创造力,仍在积极推动铁路技术的发展。”人们普遍认为,中国在高铁发展和成本降低方面的成功,“验证了广泛采用高铁的可行性和更高的可承受性。发展中国家尤其感激中国将高铁成本提高到了可承受的水平。”一位专家写道:“现在看来,在可预见的未来,中国将主导高铁市场。”

    And indeed, developing countries are increasingly attracted to the prospect of China’s affordable HSR trains as an impetus for their own economic development. At the time of writing, Chinese railway firms were building a high-speed line in Turkey linking Ankara and Istanbul, another project in Venezuela, and expecting contracts in Brazil, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Poland. Railway routes in China are expanding to mesh with new routes in Vietnam and Thailand, and there are plans to extend a route all the way to Singapore. Chinese rail officials are in the planning stages of a high-speed rail route passing through Xinjiang Province in Western China, through Kyrgyzstan and other ‘Stans’, connecting with lines in Turkey and proceeding Westward into Europe. It may soon be possible to travel by HSR all the way from Shanghai to London – at a fraction of the cost of flying, and with far more comfort and the ability to see maybe 15 countries on route.

     事实上,发展中国家越来越被中国负担得起的高铁列车的前景所吸引,以此推动其自身的经济发展。在撰写本文时,中国铁路公司正在土耳其修建一条连接安卡拉和伊斯坦布尔的高速线路,这是委内瑞拉的另一个项目,并期待在巴西、俄罗斯、沙特阿拉伯和波兰签订合同。中国的铁路线路正在扩大,以与越南和泰国的新线路接轨,并计划将一条线路一直延伸到新加坡。中国铁路官员正在规划一条高速铁路线路,该线路穿过中国西部的新疆省、吉尔吉斯斯坦和其他“斯坦”,与土耳其境内的线路相连,然后向西进入欧洲。可能很快就可以从上海到伦敦全程乘坐高铁旅行,费用仅为飞行费用的一小部分,而且更舒适,可以在途中看到15个国家。

    Chinese engineers have said it is well within the limits of today’s technology to build a high-speed rail line between China and North America, the line passing through Siberia, with a tunnel under the 55-mile Bering strait separating Russia from Alaska, then down the West Coast of Canada and the US. It would then be possible to take a fast train from San Diego to Paris and London. However, politics will make such a development impossible.

     中国工程师表示,在中国和北美之间修建一条高速铁路线,这条线路穿过西伯利亚,在55英里长的白令海峡下修建一条隧道,将俄罗斯与阿拉斯加分隔开来,然后沿着加拿大和美国西海岸延伸,这完全在当今技术的限制范围内。这样就可以从圣地亚哥乘快车到巴黎和伦敦。然而,政治将使这种发展成为不可能。

    Technology Transfer is not Free

     术转让不是免费

     

    Whenever the subject of technology transfer arises, there seems to always surface a flurry of accusations about copying or stealing. Readers should carefully note that China did not “steal” anyone’s rail technology; instead, it was all purchased. China paid billions of dollars for that transfer of technology. It is the same in all important industries today. China has the money, and is willing to pay handsomely for technology it needs to further its development.

     每当技术转让的话题出现时,似乎总会出现一系列关于复制或偷窃的指控。读者应该注意到,中国并没有“窃取”任何人的铁路技术;相反,这一切都是买来的。中国为技术转让支付了数十亿美元。今天所有重要行业都是如此。中国有钱,并且愿意为进一步发展所需的技术付出高昂的代价。

    To compensate for a late start, the Chinese government began (in only 2004) by purchasing rail technology abroad, signing agreements with Alstom and Kawasaki to build HSR train sets for China in cooperation with local firms. Kawasaki, who designed the original Hayate bullet train, signed a deal with the Chinese ministry of Railways for the transfer of a full spectrum of HSR technology. They began with Kawasaki manufacturing 50 HSR train sets in Japan and exporting these to China fully-assembled, then progressed to establishing factories in China where Kawasaki helped the Chinese manufacturers to produce another 50 train sets locally. China also paid Kawasaki for the training of manufacturing staff first in Japan and then at the factories in China. This process carried a heavy price; the arrangement with Kawasaki cost China around $800 million, plus countless millions for training and many technology updates. The contract with Kawasaki included “the transfer of the whole spectrum of technology and know-how for the bullet train”, so that these trains became in fact Chinese-owned IP.

     为了弥补起步较晚的问题,中国政府开始(仅在2004年)在国外购买铁路技术,与阿尔斯通和川崎签署协议,与当地公司合作为中国建造高铁列车组。川崎设计了最初的Hayate子弹头列车,并与中国铁道部签署了一项转让全谱高铁技术的协议。他们首先在日本川崎制造了50辆高铁列车组,并将其完全组装后出口到中国,然后在中国建立工厂,川崎帮助中国制造商在当地生产另外50辆列车组。中国还向川崎支付了培训费用,首先是在日本,然后是在中国的工厂。这一过程付出了沉重的代价;与川崎达成的协议花费了中国约8亿美元,加上数不清的数百万美元用于培训和许多技术更新。与川崎的合同包括“子弹头列车的全部技术和专有技术的转让”,因此这些列车实际上成为了中国拥有的知识产权。

    With this experience under its belt, China then duplicated the process with Siemens, Alstom and Bombardier, in similar deals for a full transfer of technology and IP rights so that China could freely manufacture these train sets domestically and sell them internationally. Similar to the procedure with Kawasaki, Chinese engineers were sent to Europe for extended periods of study and also had these firms assist China in establishing domestic manufacturing facilities. All the firms trained Chinese engineers while helping the country develop its own supply chain for train components, and all of this involved several billions of dollars in fees.

     凭借这一经验,中国随后与西门子、阿尔斯通和庞巴迪进行了类似的交易,以实现技术和知识产权的全面转让,从而使中国能够在国内自由制造这些列车组,并在国际上销售。与川崎的程序类似,中国工程师被派往欧洲进行长期学习,并让这些公司协助中国建立国内制造设施。所有这些公司都在帮助中国发展自己的列车部件供应链的同时培训了中国工程师,所有这些都涉及数十亿美元的费用。

    But it wasn’t all gravy because the Chinese rail companies paid billions of dollars for was in fact old technology from those four companies. Knowing the Chinese wanted to produce trains based entirely on their own IP and technology, Kawasaki and Siemens in particular refused to sell their more advanced products and would sell China only rail technology that was already two or even three generations old. These foreign companies were actually planning to take full control of China’s vast market for HSR transportation, expecting to fully supply the “the most ambitious rapid rail system in history”, with rewards in the billions.

     但这并不是全部,因为中国铁路公司花了数十亿美元购买的实际上是这四家公司的旧技术。川崎和西门子知道中国人想完全基于自己的知识产权和技术生产列车,因此拒绝销售更先进的产品,只向中国销售已有两代甚至三代之久的铁路技术。这些外国公司实际上计划全面控制中国巨大的高铁运输市场,以期全面提供“历史上最雄心勃勃的快速铁路系统”,并获得数十亿美元的回报。

    That did not deter the Chinese. As a first step they disassembled, evaluated, and combined all those technologies into one train, combining the best features of each. Then, they applied their formidable R&D abilities to improve and enhance those features and create entirely new trains built exclusively on Chinese-owned IP. The result was trains that were faster, smoother, quieter, and less expensive than the newest generation of their former suppliers. To say that the foreign firms underestimated the power of Chinese innovation and the speed and quality of R&D in China, is an understatement of some magnitude, with both Kawasaki and Siemens finding themselves left at the starting gate only a few years later.

     这并没有阻止中国人。作为第一步,他们将所有这些技术分解、评估并组合到一个系列中,将每种技术的最佳特性结合在一起。然后,他们运用其强大的研发能力来改进和增强这些功能,并创造出完全基于中国自有IP的全新列车。其结果是,与前供应商的最新一代相比,列车更快、更平稳、更安静、更便宜。说外国公司低估了中国创新的力量以及在中国研发的速度和质量,这在一定程度上是一种轻描淡写的说法,川崎和西门子都发现自己在几年后才处于起步阶段。

    “The Western firms confused their head start with their R&D capacity, attributing both to natural superiority, confidently assuming they were more innovative rather than simply having begun earlier. The assumption was that Japanese and German R&D capability coupled with their huge lead would maintain an impassable gap and permit them to capture the entire Chinese market.” Their willingness to sell their technology was from an expectation that the Chinese would need at least 30 years to absorb and implement it before being ready to proceed on their own. The reality was somewhat different: they found themselves having to compete with Chinese firms who adapted and improved their technology and produced superior products only three years later.

     “西方公司将其领先优势与研发能力混为一谈,将两者归因于天生的优势,自信地认为他们更具创新性,而不仅仅是更早开始。这种假设是,日本和德国的研发能力加上其巨大的领先优势,将保持不可逾越的差距,并允许他们抓住机遇。”e整个中国市场。“他们之所以愿意出售技术,是因为他们期望中国人至少需要30年的时间来吸收和实施技术,然后才能准备好自己的技术。现实情况有些不同:他们发现自己必须与中国公司竞争,这些公司调整和改进了他们的技术,并生产出优质的产品仅三年后,ucts就出现了。

    And Some Sellers Remorse

     还有一些卖家自责

     

    When China proved its ability to combine technologies from all firms and create a new, superior product, the Japanese appeared quite bitter, Kawasaki going so far as to claim that China’s trains were just ‘tweaked versions’ of its original bullet train with minor variations to the exterior paint scheme and interior trim. Even nastier, Japan’s Ministry of Transportation was quoted as saying that Japanese trains could be just as fast, but China’s trains were faster only because the Chinese ignored safety and didn’t care how many people died.

     当中国证明其有能力将所有公司的技术结合起来,创造出一种新的、优质的产品时,日本人显得相当愤慨,川崎甚至声称中国的列车只是其原始子弹头列车的“改良版”,只是在外部涂漆方案和内部装饰上有细微的变化。甚至更糟糕的是,日本交通运输部表示,日本的火车也可能同样快,但中国的火车之所以更快,只是因为中国人无视安全,不在乎有多少人死亡。

    Of course, the real problem was that it was impossible for Japan to compete with China on international markets since they hoarded their technology for too long and, by the time they changed their attitude, the world had passed them by and their technology was old, with Chinese trains much nicer, 100 Km/h faster, and considerably less expensive. As someone wrote, “Marketing is difficult when your only selling point is that the other guy’s fast and affordable trains are copies of your slow and expensive ones”. Something similar occurred with Shanghai’s Maglev train. Due to pride of authorship as with the Japanese, Siemens also refused to consider a sale of technology, preferring to hold out for astonishingly high prices of the finished product. The result was that Chinese engineers turned their full R&D attention to Maglevs and Siemens now finds itself permanently sidelined in the market.

     当然,真正的问题是,日本不可能在国际市场上与中国竞争,因为他们把技术囤积得太久,而且当他们改变态度时,世界已经超过了他们,他们的技术也很旧,中国的火车更好,时速快100公里,价格也便宜得多。正如有人所写,“当你唯一的卖点是另一个人的快速而实惠的列车是你的慢速而昂贵的列车的复制品时,营销就很困难了”。上海的磁悬浮列车也发生了类似的情况。由于与日本人一样对自己的著作权感到自豪,西门子也拒绝考虑出售技术,宁愿坚持以惊人的高价购买成品。其结果是,中国工程师将全部研发注意力转向了Maglevs,而西门子现在发现自己在市场上永远处于边缘地位。

    World Leader in Construction Quality

     世界建筑质量领导

     

    China’s HSR system is built to an intense high quality. Chinese high-speed trains run on special dedicated, often elevated tracks laid on deep and heavily-reinforced beds of high-density concrete with vertical and horizontal deviations measured in millimeters, these tracks supported by massive columns of high-strength concrete spaced very closely. With high-speed trains there is no chugging uphill and racing downhill; HSR tracks are, insofar as is humanly and technologically possible, a straight and level line. Typically, a horizontal elevation is selected for a particular route, with the rail bed maintaining this throughout the route. Depressions and valleys are filled in with bridges, and mountains and hills are met with tunnels.

     中国的高铁系统是高质量建设的。中国的高速列车运行在特殊的专用轨道上,通常是高架轨道,轨道铺设在高密度混凝土的深层钢筋垫层上,垂直和水平偏差以毫米为单位,这些轨道由高强度混凝土的巨大立柱支撑,间距非常近。有了高速列车,就不会有隆隆的上坡和急驰的下坡;就人力和技术而言,高铁轨道是一条直线和水平线。通常,为特定路线选择一个水平高程,路床在整个路线中保持该高程。洼地和山谷中到处都是桥梁,山峦和丘陵中都有隧道。

     

    China’s tunnel and bridge museum

    中国隧道桥梁博物馆

    This can be more difficult than appears at first glance. China has some astonishingly-beautiful landscapes that are perfect for tourist admiration but not so attractive to railway engineers. One such route is a line running through beautiful but challenging mountainous terrain from Wuhan and Yichang (the site of the Three Gorges Dam), to Wanzhou City, just East of Chongqing. This was China’s most difficult railway to build and is the world’s most expensive railway, costing 60 million RMB (roughly US$10 million) for each kilometer. It took a staggering seven years and 50,000 workers to complete. Of the route’s total length of 380 Kms, 75% percent or 280 Kms, consists of 253 bridges and 159 tunnels. Each and every kilometer of the railway contains at least one bridge or one tunnel, most often one of each, leading the locals to refer to the railway as the “tunnel and bridge museum”. It is ironic that this railway was meant to operate at the highest speeds of the day, but the terrain proved so difficult and consumed so much construction time that when completed the system was two generations old. And, given the immense difficulties, there is nobody interested in starting again to update the track and systems. But still, this railway reduced the Yichang-Wanzhou travel time from 22 hours to just five hours, bringing new opportunities for residents who live in the steep and remote Wuling mountains. One local resident said, “We used to pay 100 Yuan (US$15) for a one-day bus trip to Yichang before. Now, 30 Yuan can get us there in two hours.” I covered this in a brief article which you may enjoy reading. (13)

     这可能比乍一看要困难得多。中国有一些令人惊叹的美丽风景,非常适合游客欣赏,但对铁路工程师来说却没有那么大吸引力。其中一条线路是从武汉和宜昌(三峡大坝所在地)穿过美丽但富有挑战性的山区,到达重庆以东的万州市。这是中国最难修建的铁路,也是世界上最昂贵的铁路,每公里造价6000万人民币(约合1000万美元)。这花了惊人的七年时间和50000名工人才完成。路线全长380公里,其中75%或280公里,由253座桥梁和159条隧道组成。这条铁路的每一公里都至少有一座桥梁或一条隧道,通常每座都有一座,因此当地人将这条铁路称为“隧道和桥梁博物馆”。具有讽刺意味的是,这条铁路本打算以当时的最高速度运行,但事实证明,地形如此艰难,耗费了如此多的施工时间,以至于建成后,这条铁路系统已有两代人的历史。而且,考虑到巨大的困难,没有人有兴趣再次开始更新轨道和系统。但是,这条铁路将宜昌至万州的旅行时间从22小时缩短到了5小时,为居住在陡峭偏远的武陵山区的居民带来了新的机会。一位当地居民说:“以前,我们花100元(15美元)搭一日车去宜昌。现在,30元可以在两个小时内到达。”我在一篇简短的文章中谈到了这一点,你可能会喜欢读这篇文章。(13)

    A Note on Train Safety

    车安全须

    Chinese high-speed trains are often completely separated from the landscape, running on dedicated tracks elevated well above roadways, with no level crossings or cross-traffic, and thus no possibility of the common variety of vehicle accidents. These high-speed trains descend from their elevated perch only when approaching a station, utilising regular trackage for this purpose but only at very low speeds, thus permitting transportation literally from city center to city center. You can see the elevation and extreme support in the photo. There are of course sections of trackage at grade level in areas where safety is assured, but extreme precautions have been taken to avoid roadway crossings which are usually handled by either elevations or tunnels.

     00中国的高速列车通常与景观完全分离,运行在高出公路的专用轨道上,没有平交道口或交叉交通,因此不可能发生常见的各种车辆事故。这些高速列车只有在接近车站时才从高架上下来,利用常规轨道实现这一目的,但速度非常低,因此允许从市中心到市中心的运输。您可以在照片中看到标高和极限支撑。当然,在安全得到保证的地区,有一些地面轨道段,但已经采取了极端的预防措施,以避免通常由高程或隧道处理的道路交叉。

    As with every country, China does of course have its share of train accidents, with older trains derailing from landslides or other causes but, given the country’s massive rail network, the number of trains operating and the sheer number of trips taken, the country’s accident record is actually remarkably low, as are the fatalities.

     与每个国家一样,中国当然也有自己的火车事故,旧列车因滑坡或其他原因脱轨,但考虑到中国庞大的铁路网、列车运行数量和出行次数,中国的事故记录和死亡人数实际上都非常低。

    China’s railway system has dozens of installations across the country where every high-speed train is constantly monitored for many metrics like speed, axle temperatures, weather conditions, and obviously also for precise location and track position of every train. Their focus on safety is extreme. The country’s high-speed system has had only one accident since inception (at Wenzhou in 2011), one that was eerily reminiscent of Boeing’s 737 Max, where a major programming change was not covered in the operating manuals for the Japanese signaling systems. The Japanese, apparently feeling a concern that the Chinese could reverse-engineer the systems code, deliberately omitted some of the operating functions from the manuals, and so provided faulty documentation that left the Chinese operators with an imperfect and incomplete understanding of the signals systems.

     中国的铁路系统在全国各地都有几十个设施,每列高速列车都会不断地被监测到许多指标,如速度、车轴温度、天气状况,显然还有每列列车的精确位置和轨道位置。他们对安全的关注是极端的。自成立以来,中国的高速系统只发生过一次事故(2011年发生在温州),这起事故让人想起波音737 Max,当时日本信号系统的操作手册中没有涉及重大的编程更改。日本人显然担心中国人可能对系统代码进行逆向工程,故意从手册中省略了一些操作功能,因此提供了错误的文件,使中国操作员对信号系统的理解不完善和不完整。

    In this case, a train was hit by lightning and was stalled on the track. When this occurred, Chinese engineers immediately knew something was wrong and followed the operating manual, but they had no way of knowing the system was telling them that a train was stalled on the same track, because the manual was incomplete. This was the actual cause of the crash. It was true that local officials in Wenzhou panicked and stupidly tried to cover up the fact of the crash, but that doesn’t change the cause. I would note further that this was by no means the first time Chinese engineers had been deliberately misled on either the function or operation of IP they had bought and paid for. There are many tales of foreign engineers telling outright lies about the purpose or function of various components, leaving the Chinese to either figure it out for themselves or discover through adverse events the actual purpose.

     在这种情况下,一列火车被闪电击中并在轨道上抛锚。发生这种情况时,中国工程师立即意识到出了问题,并按照操作手册进行操作,但他们无法知道系统告诉他们,由于手册不完整,一列火车在同一条轨道上熄火了。这是撞车的真正原因。诚然,温州地方官员惊慌失措,愚蠢地试图掩盖撞车的事实,但这并没有改变原因。我还要进一步指出,这绝不是中国工程师第一次在他们购买和支付的知识产权的功能或操作上被故意误导。有很多故事说,外国工程师对各种部件的用途或功能公然撒谎,让中国人要么自己弄清楚,要么通过不良事件发现其实际用途。

    This accident was widely-reported in the Western media, but only to gloat at China’s misfortune. Forbes and the WSJ (and of course the NYT) ran articles that were particularly nasty, with the Carnegie Endowment publishing what seemed a very stupid political article claiming the train accident “Shows the Dangers of China’s Nuclear Power Ambitions”. (14) The point appeared to be that, since China had one rail accident, they could not be trusted to ever build anything. The child-writers at the Economist gleefully ran an article with the cute title of “Whoops!” and, in another context, the Economist wrote, “To err is human. To gloat, divinely satisfying.” Exactly.

     西方媒体对这起事故进行了广泛报道,但只是对中国的不幸幸灾乐祸。《福布斯》和《华尔街日报》(当然还有《纽约时报》)发表了一些特别恶劣的文章,卡内基基金会(CarnegieEndowment)发表了一篇看似愚蠢的政治文章,声称火车事故“显示了中国核电野心的危险”。(14) 问题似乎是,既然中国发生了一起铁路事故,就不能相信他们会建造任何东西。《经济学人》的儿童作家们兴高采烈地写了一篇题为“哎哟!”在另一种情况下,《经济学人》写道:“犯错是人,幸灾乐祸是神的满足。”确切地

    I would also add that on the event of that accident, the US media were so delirious with schadenfreude that few bothered to report the actual cause. It happens that most every opportunity to criticise China will be transformed into a proven failure of China’s one-party government. In reporting on this train accident, the entire Western media eagerly pinned the blame not on a Japanese signals failure but on China’s one-party system. But Wikipedia lists 70 pages of rail accidents for the US alone, having several major and a bunch of minor ones every year. Since theology must be universal to be credible, it seems clear where the fault lies for all these terrible disasters: democracy causes train crashes.

     我还要补充一点,在发生那起事故时,美国媒体欣喜若狂,几乎没有人愿意报道真正的原因。碰巧的是,几乎所有批评中国的机会都会变成中国一党政府的失败。在报道这起火车事故时,整个西方媒体都急切地将责任归咎于中国的一党制,而不是日本的信号故障。但维基百科仅列出了美国70页的铁路事故,每年都有几起重大和一系列小事故。既然神学必须具有普遍性才能可信,那么很明显,所有这些可怕灾难的罪魁祸首在哪里:民主导致火车失事。

    The topic of rail safely seems heavily politicised. For some unknown reason, the Western news media persist in promulgating a fiction that Japan (unlike China) has a perfect train safety record, but the truth is that Japan’s bullet trains derail and crash with some regularity. Wikipedia obligingly provides a full listing of train accidents in China all on one page, but one must work very hard to find a similar convenient listing for Japan.

     铁路安全的话题似乎被严重政治化了。出于某种未知的原因,西方新闻媒体坚持宣扬一种虚构的说法,即日本(与中国不同)拥有完美的列车安全记录,但事实是,日本的子弹头列车经常出轨和撞车。维基百科(Wikipedia)在一个页面上提供了中国火车事故的完整列表,但人们必须努力为日本找到类似的方便列表。

    Kawasaki Meets Godzilla

    川崎会见哥斯拉

    Rail Infrastructure is a Public Good, not a Private Benefit

     铁路基础设施是一项公益事业而非私人利

     

    Due to its unique government structure, China is able to plan and amend its entire travel infrastructure as a whole, considering air, rail and road, taking into account only the benefits to the entire country rather than having to appease a multitude of private interests. HSR trains have cut travel time so dramatically that airline services on many routes have been suspended in whole or in part. The airlines may not always be pleased, but China’s transportation system is designed for the maximum overall benefit to the nation, not to serve specific private interests or friends of the Administration.

     由于其独特的政府结构,中国能够从整体上规划和修改其整个旅游基础设施,考虑航空、铁路和公路,只考虑对整个国家的利益,而不必满足众多私人利益。高铁列车大幅缩短了旅行时间,许多航线的航空服务全部或部分暂停。航空公司可能并不总是满意,但中国的运输系统是为国家整体利益最大化而设计的,而不是为特定的私人利益或政府的朋友服务。

    China has not succumbed to the sometimes-intense privatisation pressure from Western bankers and has retained control of its infrastructure, an enormous blessing for rapid and efficient development. Chinese leaders recognised from the beginning that economic development follows transportation, and thus maintaining control of the transportation infrastructure derives from a determination to distribute the benefits of development to the entire nation. The reality is that not all infrastructure is destined to be financially profitable – profitability being the only measure by Western standards. A privately-developed railway system would be built only on the most profitable routes, those likely to amass billions for their owners but that would leave perhaps half the nation destitute for transportation and sentenced to perpetual poverty. Thus, railway privatisation would saddle China’s central government with the costs of building and supporting all the unprofitable routes without benefitting from the profitable segments. This is one of Western capitalism’s main mantras: privatise the profits and socialise the losses. If you’re interested in this topic, here is an essay you might enjoy reading: Private Enterprise and the National Good. (15)

     中国没有屈服于西方银行家有时会施加的巨大私有化压力,并保留了对其基础设施的控制权,这对快速高效的发展是一大福音。中国领导人从一开始就认识到,经济发展伴随着运输,因此,保持对运输基础设施的控制源于将发展的利益分配给整个国家的决心。现实情况是,并非所有基础设施都注定要实现财务盈利——盈利能力是西方标准的唯一衡量标准。私人开发的铁路系统将只在最赚钱的线路上建设,这些线路可能会为其所有者积累数十亿美元,但这可能会使一半的国家在运输方面一贫如洗,并被判处永久贫困。因此,铁路私有化将使中国中央政府承担建设和支持所有无利可图线路的成本,而不会从盈利部分中受益。这是西方资本主义的主要口号之一:利润私有化,亏损社会化。如果你对这个话题感兴趣,这里有一篇文章你可能会喜欢读:私营企业与国家利益。(15)

    In the absence of competing interests, a nationwide plan can be conceived, examined, discussed and approved in a much shorter time than in countries with a different system, and implementation times much reduced as well. China’s new HSR line from Shanghai to Beijing, a distance of about 1,300 Kms was a masterpiece of unobstructed planning and execution. For construction, the government hired almost 140,000 workers to build multiple sections simultaneously, the entire project completed in two years at a cost of less than $20 billion. By contrast, in the US, the cost of an HSR line along the Eastern seaboard, a distance only half as long, has been estimated at $120 billion and might require 20 years to complete. The province of Alberta in Canada is considering an HSR line of only 300 Kms connecting the two major cities, yet the planning stage is expected to take 5 years and cost $50 million; if approved, the subsequent construction process is projected to require another 5 years at least. The interim negotiations for right of way, the bidding processes, the dealing with all the various private interests as well as the cities involved, are expected to add 5 years to the process.

     在没有相互竞争的利益的情况下,可以在比制度不同的国家更短的时间内构思、审查、讨论和批准一项全国性计划,并大大减少实施时间。中国从上海到北京的新高铁线路,距离约1300公里,是一条通畅规划和实施的杰作。在建筑方面,政府雇佣了近14万名工人同时修建多个路段,整个项目在两年内完成,成本不到200亿美元。相比之下,在美国,沿东海岸修建一条高铁线路的成本估计为1200亿美元,可能需要20年才能完成,这条线路的长度只有东海岸的一半。加拿大阿尔伯塔省正在考虑修建一条连接两个主要城市的仅300公里的高铁线路,但规划阶段预计需要5年时间,耗资5000万美元;如果获得批准,后续施工过程预计至少需要5年时间。通行权的临时谈判、招标过程、与所有私人利益集团以及相关城市的交易预计将延长5年。

    It is critical to note that economic development follows transportation. Countries like Canada and the US would never have developed without the cross-country transportation systems being in place. But it is almost certainly too late for both Canada and the US with high-speed rail, too many decades of auto-dependent development condemning both countries to irreversible transport deficiencies. In the US, General Motors (aided by a few others) managed to convince the individual states to abandon all investment (and maintenance!) in railways and other public transport, and instead make huge public expenditures on highways that were useful only to those who owned private automobiles, effectively stranding all other citizens at home with no way to go anywhere and virtually forcing everyone to buy a car. This is not trivial, but instead a critical historical narrative. One observer wrote that “A theme likely to be emphasised in history will be the enormous strategic error made by both the US and Canada in enslaving themselves to individual motorized transportation.” Here is an article I strongly urge you to read: (16)

     重要的是要注意,经济发展紧随运输。如果没有跨国运输系统,加拿大和美国这样的国家就永远不会发展起来。但几乎可以肯定的是,对于拥有高速铁路的加拿大和美国来说,为时已晚,数十年来的汽车依赖发展使两国都面临不可逆转的交通不足。在美国,通用汽车(在其他一些公司的帮助下)设法说服各州放弃所有投资(和维护!)在铁路和其他公共交通方面,相反,在公路上进行巨额公共开支,这些开支只对那些拥有私人汽车的人有用,实际上使所有其他公民在家里无路可走,几乎迫使每个人都买车。这并非微不足道,而是一个批判性的历史叙事。一位观察家写道,“历史上可能会强调的一个主题是,美国和加拿大在个人机动交通方面犯下的巨大战略错误。”这里有一篇文章我强烈建议你阅读:(16)

    As with most other subjects, the Internet is not lacking uninformed nonsense on HSR trains. One US source tells us, “The United States has no HSR corridors because high‐?6?7speed rail is an obsolete technology that requires expensive and dedicated infrastructure that will serve no purpose other than moving passengers who could more economically travel by highway or air.” The preceding comment is incorrect in too many ways to count, ignoring the political factors that are actually responsible for the absence of HSR in the US. Rail is inevitably the least expensive form of land travel (except for bicycles), is provably less expensive than driving (sometimes much less), and generally less expensive than air travel.

     与大多数其他学科一样,互联网上也不乏高铁列车上的无知胡言乱语。一位美国消息人士告诉我们,“美国没有高铁走廊,因为高铁是一种过时的技术,需要昂贵的专用基础设施,除了运送可以更经济地通过公路或航空旅行的乘客外,没有其他用途。”上述评论在很多方面都是不正确的,忽略了导致美国没有高铁的政治因素。铁路不可避免地是陆上旅行最便宜的形式(自行车除外),可以证明比开车便宜(有时便宜得多),而且通常比航空旅行便宜。

    The American Experience

    美国的经验

    In 2012 and 2013 the US wallowed in an anguish created by envy of China’s high-speed rail network, America’s rickety and accident-prone rail system suffering badly in comparison. When it became apparent that the Americans could never duplicate China’s success and, confronted with the imminent failure of their ambition to join the world of high-speed rail, the Americans revised the definition of high-speed trains from 400 Km/h to 250 and then 150, before abandoning their quest altogether. Then, rationalisation through the uniquely American moral lens of politics and religion: “Our slow rail network is the price we pay for the great things about America like our democratic political system and our freedom of religion.”

     2012年和2013年,美国陷入了对中国高铁网络的嫉妒所造成的痛苦之中,相比之下,美国摇摇欲坠且容易发生事故的铁路系统遭受了严重的痛苦。很明显,美国人永远无法复制中国的成功,面对加入高铁世界的野心即将失败,美国人将高铁的定义从400公里/小时修改为250公里/小时,然后再修改为150公里/小时,然后完全放弃了他们的追求。然后,通过美国独特的政治和宗教道德视角进行合理化:“我们的慢铁网络是我们为美国的伟大事业付出的代价,比如我们的民主政治制度和我们的宗教自由。”

    An internet reader commented:

    一位互联网读者评论道:

    “The American failure to realise an HSR system is not because China has better leadership, vision, planning and execution, and the wisdom to sacrifice short-term benefits and minority interests for the long-term gain and the greater good; it’s because Americans have democracy and love freedom. The bickering and indecision, the squabbling, the vacillation and eventual paralysis of all levels of US government on this issue, an impossibility in any sane country, are actually a badge of merit in America, evidence of their virtuous freedom. So, let China build its high-speed trains. The more trains they have, the less free they become. Americans would never be so foolish as to sacrifice freedom for good transportation or democracy for roads and bridges.”

     “美国未能实现高铁系统,并不是因为中国有更好的领导能力、远见、规划和执行力,以及为了长期利益和更大的利益而牺牲短期利益和少数群体利益的智慧;而是因为美国人有民主和热爱自由。争吵和犹豫不决、争吵、真空美国各级政府在这一问题上的动摇和最终瘫痪,在任何一个理智的国家都是不可能的,实际上是美国的一个功勋,是他们道德自由的证明。所以,让中国建造高速列车吧。火车越多,自由度就越低。美国人永远不会愚蠢到为了良好的交通而牺牲自由,或者为了道路和桥梁而牺牲民主。”

    I don’t know the author of this brief passage below, but I want to share the quote with you because he captured perfectly the American situation:

     我不认识下面这篇短文的作者,但我想与你分享这句话,因为他完美地捕捉了美国的情况:

    “At the end of 2013, California was still hoping to build the nation’s first high-speed rail line, an 830 Kms track from Los Angeles to San Francisco, that would be scheduled for completion in 2029 (more than 16 years) and would cost about $70 billion not including the inevitable cost over-runs. By contrast, China built its 1,320 Kms Shanghai-Beijing HSR line in only three years at a cost of 200 billion Yuan – about $32 billion. So, the US high-speed train – if it’s ever actually built – will be 60% slower than China’s, will take five times as long to build and cost almost five times as much for an equivalent distance. Of course, the Americans could just ask China to build their HSR in only 18 months at a cost of only $20 billion, but that would mean admitting Chinese superiority, and that means the US will never have high-speed rail.”

     “2013年底,加利福尼亚州仍希望修建美国第一条高速铁路线,即从洛杉矶到旧金山的830公里长的轨道,计划于2029年完工(超过16年)将耗资约700亿美元,不包括不可避免的超支成本。相比之下,中国仅用三年时间就建成了长1320公里的沪京高铁线路,耗资2000亿元人民币,约合320亿美元。因此,美国的高速列车(如果真的建成的话)将比中国的慢60%,建设时间将是中国的五倍,在同等距离上的成本几乎是中国的五倍。当然,美国可以要求中国在18个月内以200亿美元的成本建造高铁,但这意味着承认中国的优势,这意味着美国永远不会拥有高铁。”

    Amtrak is the only intercity passenger rail in the US that operates at speeds higher than freight trains, but hasn’t been very popular, with its highest passenger numbers at around 30 million in a year compared to China’s nearly 4 billion. And Amtrak has never made a profit, requiring government subsidisation of about $1 billion per year. I have no explanation for the lack of popularity of train travel in the US. It isn’t primarily a love affair with the auto, since Europeans also love to drive but also love train travel. At least some US rail facilities are acceptable, so it would seem the problem is due to a sum of other factors.

     美国铁路公司(Amtrak)是美国唯一一条运行速度高于货运列车的城际客运铁路,但一直不太受欢迎,其最高客运量约为3000万人次,而中国为近40亿人次。美国铁路公司从未盈利,每年需要约10亿美元的政府补贴。我无法解释为什么火车旅行在美国不受欢迎。这主要不是对汽车的热爱,因为欧洲人也喜欢开车,但也喜欢火车旅行。至少美国的一些铁路设施是可以接受的,因此,问题似乎是由一系列其他因素造成的。

    Amtrak

    美国铁路公

    Amtrak is a very strange duck, a high-speed wannabe that seems determined to get most of the important things wrong and, if I can use an analogy, is too busy reading to take the time to learn to speed-read. It is difficult to make positive statements about the company because the underlying negatives make positive statements seem almost surreal.

     美国铁路公司(Amtrak)是一只非常奇怪的鸭子,一个想要高速阅读的人,似乎下定决心要把大部分重要的事情弄错,如果我可以用一个类比的话,他太忙了,以至于没有时间学习快速阅读。很难对公司做出积极的评价,因为潜在的负面因素让积极的评价看起来几乎是超现实的。

    Recent media reports that the introduction of Amtrak’s new Avelia Liberty trains (If it’s America, it’s always ‘liberty’ or ‘freedom’) manufactured by France’s Alstom are facing yet another delay of 18 months, pushing the total delay to more than three years. The cause? Surprising, to say the least. To begin, under new instructions to ban everything Chinese, the company had to turn to France to purchase their rolling stock, but what Amtrak has purchased is 3 generations old in China, at the very bottom of anything that today would be termed “high-speed rail”, and is old in France as well. Reading between the lines, it seems Alstom agreed to reproduce some older-technology equipment to match America’s abilities, but things haven’t gone so well.

     最近有媒体报道称,法国阿尔斯通制造的美铁新Avelia Liberty列车(如果是美国的话,总是“Liberty”或“freedom”)的推出又面临18个月的延误,总延误时间已超过三年。原因是什么?至少可以说,令人惊讶。一开始,根据禁止一切中国车辆的新指示,该公司不得不转向法国购买其机车车辆,但美铁所购买的车辆在中国已有三代之久,处于今天被称为“高铁”的最底层,在法国也很古老。从字里行间看,阿尔斯通似乎同意复制一些旧的技术设备,以与美国的能力相匹配,但事情进展得并不顺利。

    According to Amtrak executives, the need for more testing is the cause of things being behind schedule, with Amtrak citing “rigorous” testing “required by federal regulations”, somehow implying American safety standards of exceptional rigor, but the details seem to tell a different story. In fact, a review of the details reveals that the real cause was “the discovery of compatibility problems with the Northeast Corridor tracks that prompted modifications to the train design”, as well as “an incompatibility with . . . its catenary system” – which is the overhead electrical source that provides power to the trains. (17)

     美铁高管表示,需要更多的测试是导致事情落后于计划的原因,美铁引用了联邦法规要求的“严格”测试,这在某种程度上意味着美国的安全标准异常严格,但细节似乎说明了不同的情况。事实上,对细节的审查表明,真正的原因是“发现与东北走廊轨道的兼容性问题,导致列车设计的修改”,以及“与其接触网系统的不兼容性”——这是为列车提供电力的架空电源。(17)

    If this isn’t clear, Amtrak executives discovered, no doubt to their complete amazement, that the trains they purchased didn’t fit the tracks on which those trains would run, nor could they connect with the available overhead power sources. The spin placed on this by Amtrak executives was that “The train had to be modified to work harmoniously with the infrastructure.” However, it wasn’t an issue of ‘working harmoniously’, but of working at all. Amtrak provided to Alstom the design necessities for 30 new train sets, which were manufactured to those specifications but, when delivered, the company discovered their design was so badly flawed that the new trains didn’t match the trackage or the power supply, and had to be modified. This sounds like a Three Stooges episode or a Jackie Gleason comedy. How is it possible for thinking persons to design and manufacture trains that can’t fit their own tracks?

     如果这还不清楚的话,美国铁路公司的高管们无疑会完全惊讶地发现,他们购买的列车与这些列车运行的轨道不匹配,也无法连接到可用的架空电源。美铁高管对此的猜测是,“必须对列车进行改装,使其与基础设施协调工作。”然而,这不是一个“和谐工作”的问题,而是一个工作的问题。美铁向阿尔斯通提供了30辆新列车组的设计必需品,这些列车组是按照这些规范制造的,但在交付时,该公司发现其设计存在严重缺陷,以至于新列车与轨道或电源不匹配,必须进行修改。这听起来像是一部《三个走狗》或杰基·格里森的喜剧。有思想的人怎么可能设计和制造出不适合自己轨道的列车?

    According to media reports these new Avelia trains are built under an FRA rule that establishes “new safety standards for high-speed trains, . . . to allow for operation at the highest speeds on shared tracks”. The intended insinuation is that these new so-called safety standards are more rigid, but it seems they are actually more relaxed, to accommodate Amtrak’s inability (or unwillingness) to comply. Part of the problem is that Amtrak runs almost exclusively on what they euphemistically call “shared tracks”, which means running on 60 year-old rail beds that are used primarily by slow freight trains, and that Amtrak wants to run its trains at speeds much higher than are safe. Hence the “new safety standards” created by the FRA “to allow for operation at the highest speeds”.

     据媒体报道,这些新的Avelia列车是根据FRA规则建造的,该规则确立了“高速列车的新安全标准,……允许在共享轨道上以最高速度运行”。含沙射影的意思是,这些新的所谓安全标准更加严格,但实际上似乎更加宽松,以适应美铁无法(或不愿)遵守的情况。问题的一部分在于,美国铁路公司几乎只在他们委婉地称之为“共享轨道”的轨道上运行,这意味着在有60年历史的铁床上运行,而这些铁床主要由慢速货运列车使用,美国铁路公司希望以远高于安全的速度运行列车。因此,FRA制定了“新安全标准”,以“允许以最高速度运行”。

    Amtrak Also Meets Godzilla

    铁还与哥斯拉会

    “Most American (rail) infrastructure was built in the early to mid-20th century (1920-1950), the continent having been simultaneously wired for electricity and phone service while constructing the interstate highway system along with thousands of bridges, tunnels and more. But the US has spent almost no money on maintenance and repairs on any of this infrastructure for almost 60 years now. The situation today is dire and, in many instances, critical, but money is no longer available (except for Israel and Ukraine). Derailments and other accidents occur almost daily on America’s dilapidated and unsafe rail network which, like the highways, has received only urgent patching rather than proper maintenance and repair.” (18) (19) (20)

     “大多数美国(铁路)基础设施建于20世纪初至中期(1920-1950年),在建设州际公路系统以及数千座桥梁、隧道和更多设施的同时,该大陆同时连接了电力和电话服务。但近60年来,美国几乎没有在这些基础设施的维护和维修上花费任何资金。今天的局势十分严峻,在许多情况下,情况危急,但资金已不再可用(以色列和乌克兰除外)。美国破败和不安全的铁路网几乎每天都会发生脱轨和其他事故,与高速公路一样,铁路网也只是紧急修补,而没有得到适当的维护和维修。” (18) (19) (20)

    “In June of 2013 an Interstate bridge on a main commercial corridor between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, Canada, collapsed and fell into the river below after being hit by a truck. This was not a high-speed collision; the truck simply bumped one of the main support pillars at low speed, but the weakened and dilapidated pillar broke from the strain and, without that extra bit of support, the entire bridge immediately collapsed. In prior examinations, the heavily-travelled bridge had not only been rated as functionally obsolete but structurally deficient and requiring replacement. This is only one of thousands; the great majority of the physical infrastructure of the US is in a similar condition, involving railroads, highways, dams, bridges and more. More than 160,000 bridges in the US are officially categorized as dangerous, at risk of collapse, with such collapses now regularly occurring. (21) (22) (23)

     “2013年6月,位于华盛顿州西雅图和加拿大温哥华之间的一条主要商业走廊上的一座州际大桥被一辆卡车撞到后倒塌并掉进下面的河里。这不是一次高速碰撞;卡车只是在低速时撞到了一根主支撑柱,但那根被削弱和破损的支柱从桥上断开应变,没有额外的支撑,整座桥立即倒塌。在之前的检查中,这座交通繁忙的桥梁不仅被评定为功能陈旧,而且结构缺陷,需要更换。这只是数千个中的一个;美国绝大多数有形基础设施都处于类似的状况,包括铁路、公路、大坝、桥梁等。美国有160000多座桥梁被正式列为危险桥梁,面临坍塌风险,目前此类坍塌事件经常发生。(21) (22) (23)

    The same is true for subways and elevated inner-city rail systems like that in New York City; rickety, dirty, dangerous, and looking for a reason to collapse.” (24)

     纽约市的地铁和高架市内铁路系统也是如此;摇摇晃晃,肮脏,危险,寻找崩溃的理由。” (24)

    Welcome to New York

    欢迎来到纽约

    Back to Amtrak, the delivery delay “hiccups” will force the company to keep its “legacy fleet” in service, with this in turn causing severe revenue losses from the oddly-unexpected need for extra “mechanical investments” to “reduce train malfunctioning”. In non-propaganda English, this means that Amtrak’s old, one-foot-in-the-grave, trains needing badly to be scrapped before an imminent fatal collapse, will now require substantial maintenance and repair to hold out until executives can accurately measure the width of their tracks and modify the new trains they’ve purchased.

     回到美国铁路公司(Amtrak),交货延迟“打嗝”将迫使该公司保持其“传统车队”的服务,这反过来会导致收入严重损失,因为奇怪的是,需要额外的“机械投资”来“减少列车故障”。在非宣传性英语中,这意味着美国铁路公司(Amtrak)的旧列车在即将发生致命坍塌之前急需报废,现在需要进行大量维护和维修,直到管理人员能够准确测量轨道宽度并修改他们购买的新列车。

    This is not nothing. Amtrak experiences operating difficulties we don’t even read about in comic books. One Amtrak passenger train in Maryland recently broke apart while traveling, with some of the passenger cars separating from the rest of the train at 125 mph and going on their own merry way. (25) Until this, I thought I’d heard everything. Amtrak executives said, “We are currently investigating the cause of the car separation.” I guess I would be doing that, too.

     这不是什么。美铁遇到了我们在漫画书中都没有读到的运营困难。最近,马里兰州的一列美铁客运列车在行驶过程中发生故障,其中一些客车以125英里/小时的速度与其余列车分离,并以自己的方式行驶。(25)在这之前,我以为我什么都听到了。美铁高管表示:“我们目前正在调查车辆分离的原因。”我想我也会这么做。

    Would you like to travel at 250 Km/h on this track? Amtrak wants to.

     您想在这条赛道上以250公里/时的速度行驶吗美铁希望如此

    But the most important issue is that no one in the US, neither the government nor the railways, seems prepared to maintain and repair rail tracks and beds to an acceptable standard, much less having the foresight to build dedicated trackage meant for high-speed trains. Attempting to run trains at speeds of 200 mph on 60 year-old un-maintained tracks that were built for freight trains at a maximum of 50 mph, is not only reckless but downright stupid. Yet, this is where we are. And Amtrak’s legacy of accidents and crashes is all the evidence necessary.

     但最重要的问题是,在美国,无论是政府还是铁路部门,似乎都没有人准备将铁路轨道和路床维护和维修到可接受的标准,更不用说有远见地为高速列车修建专用轨道了。试图在60年前未经维护的轨道上以200英里/小时的速度运行列车,这条轨道是为货运列车建造的,最高时速为50英里/小时,这不仅是鲁莽的,而且是彻头彻尾的愚蠢。然而,这就是我们所处的位置。美国铁路公司遗留下来的事故和撞车是所有必要的证据。

    Train speeds are constantly an issue with Amtrak. We can read much hype about Amtrak trains traveling at 200 or even 250 Km/h (150 mph), but in real life they barely average 75 or 80 mph, and this is the fastest train in America. This is partly the fault of the tracks, since Amtrak operates almost exclusively on freight train tracks and ‘shares’ the tracks with these freight trains, and is often held up by them. I’m told it is quite common for an Amtrak train to get stuck behind a slow freight train. (26) But even with all of this, very few of Amtrak’s locomotives have the ability to exceed 110 mph or 175 Km/h, which is well below anything considered as high-speed rail today.

     列车速度一直是美铁的一个问题。我们可以读到很多关于美铁列车时速200甚至250公里/小时(150英里/小时)的炒作,但在现实生活中,它们的平均时速仅为75或80英里/小时,这是美国最快的列车。这在一定程度上是轨道的故障,因为美国铁路公司几乎只在货运列车轨道上运营,并与这些货运列车“共享”轨道,并且经常被他们拦住。有人告诉我,美国铁路公司(Amtrak)的列车被困在慢行的货运列车后面是很常见的。(26)但即便如此,很少有美国铁路公司的机车能够超过110英里/小时或175公里/小时,这远远低于目前被认为是高速铁路的速度。

    DC to Boston is roughly 700 Kms or 435 miles. Amtrak’s Acela Express Train 2150 takes nearly 7 hours, for an average speed of only 100 Km/h, or 60 miles per hour, not exactly high-speed. That’s not entirely the fault of the train, since it makes ten stops on the route, a case of bad planning if I ever saw one. As mentioned above, China’s solution to this is to have some trains run on an express basis with no stops between the two terminals while others make several different stops each, thus still serving all the communities but with a much higher average travel time.

     从华盛顿到波士顿大约有700公里或435英里。美国铁路公司(Amtrak)的亚齐拉(Acela)特快列车2150需要近7个小时,平均速度只有100公里/小时,也就是60英里/小时,这并不完全是高速。这不完全是火车的错,因为它在路线上停了十站,如果我见过一次的话,那就是糟糕的计划。如上所述,中国的解决方案是让一些列车在两个终点站之间不停地快速运行,而另一些列车在两个终点站之间各停几站,这样仍然服务于所有社区,但平均旅行时间要高得多。

    Similarly, Amtrak’s record of on-time arrivals is abysmal. According to Amtrak’s 2020 Annual Report, little more than 55% of trains arrived on time, and this can be blamed almost entirely on poor management. If China and many European countries can have on-time rates of up to 98%, so can anyone who knows how to plan.

     同样,美国铁路公司的准时到达记录也是糟糕透顶的。根据美铁2020年年报,只有55%的列车准时到达,这几乎完全可以归咎于管理不善。如果中国和许多欧洲国家的准时率能达到98%,那么任何知道如何计划的人都能做到。

    Richard Branson’s Brightline

    理查德·布兰森的明亮干线

    However, unknown to the world at large, America does indeed have a “high-speed train”, Richard Branson’s new ‘Brightline’, that runs 100 Kms from Miami to West Palm Beach in Florida. According to the promotions, these are “sleek, neon-yellow trains, which travel at speeds of up to 127 Kms/hr (!!!)”. To be fair to the Americans, they initially promoted this as a “higher-speed train”, a small but worthy concession to reality that quickly disappeared. To be fair to the sleek, neon-yellow train, it is quite unable to reach its advertised top speed and in fact seldom reaches even 100 Km/h, faster than a freight train, but not by much.

     然而,全世界都不知道,美国确实有一列“高速列车”,即理查德·布兰森(RichardBranson)的新“Brightline”,从迈阿密到佛罗里达州西棕榈滩,全长100公里。根据促销活动,这些是“时髦的、霓虹灯黄色的列车,速度高达127公里/小时(!!!)”。为了公平对待美国人,他们最初将其推广为“高速列车”,这是对现实的一个小小但有价值的让步,但很快就消失了。公平地说,对于这辆时髦、霓虹灯般的黄色列车来说,它完全无法达到其广告中的最高速度,事实上,它很少达到100公里/小时的速度,比货运列车快,但也不多。

    Also unknown to the world, this American version of HSR has, in its first few years since inauguration, had numerous derailments, scores of accidents, and caused well over 100 deaths. In what should have been a surprising development, several of the accidents and deaths occurred during the train’s initial test run, after which it was inexplicably cleared for service. But perhaps no matter because Brightline assured us that “safety remains the company’s top priority”. Interestingly, the US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) data show 60% fewer deaths than the media reports of actual fatalities because (if you can believe this) they inexplicably (and almost certainly unjustifiably) classify most of the deaths as “possible suicides”, and then sanctimoniously impose “reporting restrictions intended to safeguard privacy”. (27) If this isn’t clear, the FRA is claiming that 60% of Brightline train accident deaths were from motorists deliberately stopping on the tracks in order to kill themselves. Given all the options for committing suicide, this would not be my first choice. How can American authorities fabricate such preposterous lies and why would the media support them?

     这条美国版的高铁在开通后的头几年里发生了多次出轨、数十起事故,造成了100多人死亡,这也是世界所不知道的。这本应是一个令人惊讶的事态发展,几起事故和死亡事件发生在列车首次试运行期间,之后列车莫名其妙地获准投入使用。但也许没关系,因为Brightline向我们保证“安全仍然是公司的头等大事”。有趣的是,美国联邦铁路管理局(FRA)的数据显示,死亡人数比媒体报道的实际死亡人数少60%,因为(如果你能相信的话)他们莫名其妙地(几乎肯定是不合理地)将大多数死亡归类为“可能的自杀”,然后,又神圣地施加“旨在保护隐私的报告限制”。(27)如果这一点尚不清楚,联邦铁路管理局声称,百分之六十的Brightline火车事故死亡是由司机故意在铁轨上停车自杀造成的。考虑到自杀的所有选择,这不是我的第一选择。美国当局怎么能编造这样荒谬的谎言?媒体为什么会支持他们?

    Another Brightline “Assisted Suicide”

    另一条明亮干线协助自杀

    Also, according to the FRA, “a Brightline locomotive derailed … at four miles per hour …”. The report continued that this was the second derailment within two months, the main cause being that this US “high-speed train” is using tracks and rail beds built more than 60 years ago, intended only for slow-moving freight trains, and have not been maintained. In an astonishing display of arrogance and defiance, Brightline refused to confirm the accident for nearly six months, even during sworn testimony to a Senate Committee, then called the derailment “minor”, and dismissed the critics’ concern as a “baseless fear tactic”. (28) These issues are noteworthy in several ways: Running “higher-speed” trains through level crossings (at ground level), is reckless in the extreme and begging for fatalities. Even more, running passenger trains on dilapidated trackage and freight-rail beds that haven’t been maintained for 60 years, is worse.

     此外,根据FRA,“一辆Brightline机车以每小时4英里的速度出轨……”。报告继续称,这是两个月内的第二次脱轨,主要原因是这辆美国“高速列车”使用的是60多年前建造的轨道和铁床,仅用于低速货运列车,而且没有得到维护。Brightline在近六个月的时间里,甚至在向参议院委员会宣誓作证时,都拒绝证实这起事故,这是一种傲慢和蔑视的惊人表现,然后称出轨“轻微”,并将批评者的担忧斥为“毫无根据的恐惧策略”。(28)这些问题在几个方面值得注意:通过平交道口(地面)运行“高速”列车是极端鲁莽的行为,并乞求死亡。更糟糕的是,在破旧的轨道和货运铁路路基上运行的客运列车已经有60年没有保养了。

    A second item is so illustrative of a pathological quirk that appears to exist only in the US. From Brightline’s home webpage:

    第二项是一种似乎只存在于美国的病理怪癖。从明亮干线的主页:

    “Hand-stitched leather seats. Sit 2 or 4 together at a table. Relax pre-departure in our first-class SELECT lounge with an ever-changing lineup of enticing bites and beverages. Lounge business services including iPads, a scanner & printer. Access to conference rooms in our stations (a $50/hr value). Complimentary onboard Wi-Fi.” (29)

     “手工缝制的真皮座椅。2或4个座位并排坐在一张桌子旁。出发前在我们的头等舱精选休息室放松,这里有各种诱人的小吃和饮料。休息室商务服务包括iPad、扫描仪和打印机。可以进入我们各站的会议室(每小时50美元)。免费车载Wi-Fi。”(29)

    Hand-stitched leather seats and an ever-changing lineup of enticing bites on a train that derails at 4 miles per hour and has already killed more than 100 people. This is the way Americans design their cars. Appearance is everything and substance is nothing. American auto designers hold frequent market tests where they introduce citizens to new automobiles, the purpose being to see if the new degradations in quality and safety can pass these public tests undetected. A so-called high-speed train running on rickety tracks and derailing at 4 mph is glossed over for leather seats and Wi-Fi. Only in America. One internet commenter wrote, “This proves that Americans are too stupid for high-speed rail.”

     一列火车以每小时4英里的速度出轨,已经造成100多人死亡,手工缝制的真皮座椅和不断变化的诱人咬伤。这就是美国人设计汽车的方式。外表就是一切,实质什么都不是。美国汽车设计师经常举行市场测试,向市民介绍新汽车,目的是看看新的质量和安全下降是否可以通过这些公共测试而不被发现。一列所谓的高速列车在摇摇晃晃的轨道上运行,以每小时4英里的速度脱轨,但真皮座椅和Wi-Fi却被掩盖了。只有在美国。一位互联网评论员写道:“这证明美国人太笨了,不适合坐高铁。”

    “How many more deaths do we need to read about before something is done.”

    在采取行动之前我们还需要了解更多的死亡人数。

    Another news report stated that – according to the same FRA – this train has had “the most fatalities along the corridor in that time period”. (30) (31) The situation is so bad that there are at least two Florida law firms now specialising in Brightline accident victim litigation. (32)

     另一则新闻报道称,根据同一FRA的说法,这列火车“是当时走廊沿线死亡人数最多的火车”。(30)(31)情况非常糟糕,目前至少有两家佛罗里达律师事务所专门从事Brightline事故受害者诉讼。(32)

    A recent article in the Orlando Weekly called “almost-high-speed Brightline the deadliest train line mile-for-mile in the U.S.”, (33) because it apparently has the worst death rate of all 821 train lines in the US. Yet Branson plans to extend the line to Disneyworld and has obtained billions in tax-free bonds for the expansion, but there are current lawsuits to prevent this, determined “to ensure it never reaches Orlando”. (34) Nevertheless, and again, “the service intends to use existing freight lines that have not handled regular passenger service in nearly a half-century” and which haven’t been maintained for 60 years. (35) (36) Only in America.

     《奥兰多周刊》(Orlando Weekly)最近的一篇文章称“几乎高速的Brightline是美国每英里死亡人数最多的列车线”(33),因为它显然是美国所有821条列车线中死亡率最低的。然而,布兰森计划将这条线路延伸到迪斯尼世界,并已获得数十亿美元的免税债券用于扩建,但目前有诉讼阻止这一点,决心“确保它永远不会到达奥兰多”。(34)尽管如此,“该服务计划使用近半个世纪以来未提供常规客运服务的现有货运线路”,而且这些线路已经有60年没有维护了。(35)(36)仅在美国。

    Does This Look Like a High-Speed Train to You?

    觉得这像高速列车吗

    This last item may contain research worthy of a Master’s thesis, this being a newspaper headline on one of the derailments: “Brightline accidents tragic, but is railway really to blame?” (37) The article stated that this “innovative high-speed passenger rail service has been in operation for only about a week and a half, and already people have died”, then went on to say that “most readers” put the blame not on the railway but on “the decision-making of people”. There was an almost irresistible poignancy about this claim. In reading the reports, I could not shake the feeling of listening to a small child, disappointed at some failure but lacking the maturity to see reality as it was, and making an excuse typical of an 8 year-old mind. I believe we could argue this to be the consciousness level of the typical adult American.

     最后一条可能包含值得一篇硕士论文的研究,这是一篇关于其中一次脱轨的报纸标题:“Brightline事故很悲惨,但铁路真的应该受到谴责吗?”(37)文章指出,“这项创新的高速客运铁路服务仅运营了大约一周半,已经有人死亡”,然后接着说,“大多数读者”将责任归咎于“人民的决策”,而不是铁路。这一说法有一种几乎无法抗拒的辛酸。在阅读报告的过程中,我无法摆脱听小孩子说话的感觉,对一些失败感到失望,但缺乏成熟度来看待现实,并且找了一个8岁孩子典型的借口。我相信我们可以说这是典型的美国成年人的意识水平。

    Epilogue

    There was a sadness in my heart while writing much of this article. Putting aside any fleeting pleasure in criticising Americans, there was a kind of despondent cheerlessness in a realisation of what might have been but can never be. Today, not only Chinese and Europeans are enjoying the manifold benefits and pleasures of high-speed train travel, but also citizens of Vietnam, Turkey, Venezuela, Brazil, Singapore, Thailand, Poland, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia and many more. American citizens surely deserve this fine mode of travel as much as anyone else, and yet their own heavily-politicised and corrupt society prevents it, and there is no solution.

     写这篇文章的时候,我心里有一种悲伤。撇开批评美国人的短暂乐趣不谈,在意识到可能发生但永远不会发生的事情时,有一种沮丧的喜悦。如今,不仅中国人和欧洲人享受着高速列车旅行的各种好处和乐趣,还有越南、土耳其、委内瑞拉、巴西、新加坡、泰国、波兰、俄罗斯、吉尔吉斯斯坦、沙特阿拉伯等国的公民。美国公民当然应该像其他任何人一样享受这种良好的旅行方式,但他们自己高度政治化和腐败的社会阻止了这种旅行方式,而且没有解决办法。

    The American government could easily make friends with China and have genuine high-speed trains (400 and 600 Km/h) everywhere, but Captain America doesn’t want to make friends. He would rather be the bully on the block and knock someone down, rather than building himself up. The US sacrificed real 5G communications for its entire population for the pleasure of hurting China and trashing Huawei, and to protect the continuing freedom to spy on them. This is happening in so many areas, all with the same cause. It has been partly comical but mostly painful to watch the US during the past 8 or so years, agonising over the prospect of high-speed railways and seeing so many efforts collapse due solely to petty political ideology. It is astonishing that such a large and important nation could have such immature and even infantile politicians – at every level.

     美国政府可以很容易地与中国交朋友,在任何地方都有真正的高速列车(400和600公里/小时),但美国队长不想交朋友。他宁愿做街上的恶霸,把别人打倒,也不愿自强不息。美国为了伤害中国和诋毁华为,为了保护继续监视他们的自由,牺牲了真正的5G通信来换取全体人民。这发生在许多领域,都有相同的原因。在过去8年左右的时间里,看着美国为高速铁路的前景而苦恼,看到如此多的努力完全由于琐碎的政治意识形态而失败,这在一定程度上是滑稽的,但最痛苦的是。令人惊讶的是,这样一个大国如此重要,竟然在各个层面都有如此不成熟甚至幼稚的政治家。

    In only one or two decades, China has become a world leader or at least a peer in so many areas – IT, telecommunications, high-speed trains, quantum communications, DNA synthesising and mapping, green energy sources, space exploration, astronomy, mind-machine interfaces, small drones, aircraft production, 3-D printing. The Chinese have built their own space station, photographed every square meter of the moon, launched their own GPS system, built the deepest deep-sea submersibles, and much more, to say nothing of all the massive engineering projects. None of this was an accident and none of it happened overnight; all were the result of planning begun 20, 30, and even 40 years ago, the results only now becoming evident.

     仅在一到二十年的时间里,中国就在许多领域成为了世界领先者或至少是同行——IT、电信、高速列车、量子通信、DNA合成和绘图、绿色能源、空间探索、天文学、思维机器接口、小型无人机、飞机生产、3D打印。中国建造了自己的空间站,拍摄了每平方米的月球照片,发射了自己的GPS系统,建造了最深的深海潜水器,更不用说所有的大型工程项目了。这一切都不是意外,也不是一夜之间发生的;所有这些都是20年、30年甚至40年前开始规划的结果,直到现在,结果才变得明显。

    The Americans especially, but really all Western countries, could never accomplish such speedy and successful development due primarily to the political system which prevents long-term planning and which is so indebted to a small group of elites that the common good and the welfare of the nation are lost. The only proposals that survive are those permitting a small group of bankers and industrialists to feed at the public trough, while all those benefiting the public are stillborn. Planning cannot be done for projects beyond the life of the current government, which might be only 4 years and often less, because the opposing party would most likely kill any project, either on ideological principles or to prevent credit being given to “the opposition”.

     尤其是美国,但实际上是所有西方国家,无法实现如此迅速和成功的发展,主要是因为政治制度阻碍了长期规划,而且它欠了一小群精英的债,以至于国家的共同利益和福利都丧失了。唯一幸存下来的提案是允许一小群银行家和实业家在公共水槽里吃饭,而所有造福于公众的都是死胎。不能为超出现任政府任期的项目进行规划,因为在野党很可能会出于意识形态原则或为了防止“在野党”获得信任而扼杀任何项目,而现任政府的任期可能只有4年,而且往往更短。

    And, on the high-speed trains themselves, it seems that no one in American government or industry has the good sense and political will to say not only “Let’s do it” but “Let’s do it right.” And that means a serious commitment to long-term adult-level planning of high-speed travel and the investment required to build a dedicated support infrastructure that can handle it. The continued pretense of having so-called “high-speed trains” running on dilapidated 60 year-old freight tracks, will lead to nothing but disaster.

     而且,在高速列车上,似乎美国政府或行业中没有人有良好的理智和政治意愿,不仅要说“让我们做吧”,还要说“让我们做对吧”这意味着要认真致力于成人层面的高速旅行长期规划,并投入必要的投资,以建立一个专门的支持基础设施来应对这一问题。继续假装让所谓的“高速列车”在破旧的60年旧货运轨道上运行,只会导致灾难。

    This entire process of Americans so desperate to “save face” is founded on a delusion of superficiality we seem to find only in America: I paint my Pinto red and pretend it’s a Ferrari.

     美国人如此渴望“保全面子”的整个过程都是建立在一种肤浅的错觉之上的,我们似乎只有在美国才能找到这种错觉:我把我的平托车漆成红色,然后假装它是一辆法拉利。

    *

     

    Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chapt. 2 — Dealing with Demons).

    罗曼诺夫的作品已被翻译成32语言他的文章发布在30多个国家的150多个外语新闻和政治网站上以及100多个英语平台上。拉里·罗曼诺夫是一位退休的管理顾问和商人。他曾在国际咨询公司担任高级管理职位,并拥有国际进出口业务。他曾任上海复旦大学客座教授,向高级EMBA课程介绍国际事务案例研究。罗曼诺夫先生住在上海,目前正在撰写一系列十本书,这些书通常与中国和西方有关。他是辛西娅·麦金尼(CynthiaMcKinney)的新集《当中国打喷嚏时》的撰稿人之一。第二章——对付恶魔

     

    His full archive can be seen at

    他的全部文库可以在以下找到

    http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/ and https://www.moonofshanghai.com/

    He can be contacted at:

    他的联系方式:

    2186604556@qq.com

    *

    Notes

    注释

    (1) https://english.www.gov.cn/archive/statistics/202101/10/content_WS5ffa36f3c6d0f725769438ad.html

    China’s high-speed rail lines top 37,900 km at end of 2020

    2020年底中国高铁线路总里程前37900公里

    (2) https://www.theb1m.com/video/the-unstoppable-growth-of-chinas-high-speed-rail-network

    The Unstoppable Growth of China’s High-Speed Rail Network

    中国高速铁路网势不可挡的增长

    (3) https://www.statista.com/topics/7534/high-speed-rail-in-china/

    High-speed railway in China – statistics & facts

    中国高速铁路——统计与事实

    (4) https://www.chinadiscovery.com/china-high-speed-train-tours/high-speed-train-facts.html

    China High Speed Train Facts – Longest, Fastest & Craziest

    中国高铁事实-最长、最快、最疯狂

    (5) https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/07/worlds-high-speed-trains-railways/

    These are the fastest trains in the world

    这是世界上最快的火车

    (6) https://www.chinahighlights.com/shanghai/transportation/maglev-train.htm

    Shanghai Maglev Train — The Fastest Train in the World

    上海磁悬浮列车-世界上最快的列车

    (7) https://www.statista.com/statistics/557186/high-speed-trains-maxmimum-speed/

    World’s fastest trains in 2021, ranked by record speed

    2021世界上最快的列车,以创纪录的速度排名

    (8) https://youtu.be/cuc03kxeHQs

    China’s 600  Maglev Train; CCTV

    中国600辆磁悬浮列车;中央电视台

    (9) https://youtu.be/a7VjaEUFWxk

    China’s 600  Maglev Train Rolled off the Production Line; CCTV 1:24

    中国600列磁悬浮列车下线;CCTV 1:24

    (10)  https://lite.cnn.com/en/article/h_5eed36d754a03637b1ec2f3074f2e805

    Past, present and future: The evolution of China’s incredible high-speed rail network

    过去、现在和未来:中国难以置信的高铁网络的演变

    (11) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_metro_systems

    List of Metro Systems

    地铁系统清单

    (12) https://youtu.be/fumYdO9XknE

    Coin on Windowsill of Chinese High-Speed Train

    中国高速列车窗台上的硬币

    (13) https://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/3586/

    From Shanghai to Chongqing: The World’s Most Expensive Railway

    从上海到重庆:世界上最昂贵的铁路

    (14) https://carnegieendowment.org/2011/07/29/wenzhou-crash-shows-dangers-of-china-s-nuclear-power-ambitions-pub-45213

    Wenzhou Crash Shows the Dangers of China’s Nuclear Power Ambitions

    温州坠机事件显示出中国核电野心的危险

    (15) https://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/5652/

    Private Enterprise and the National Good

    私营企业与国家利益

    (16) https://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/the-american-love-affair-with-the-automobile-the-unspoken-history-of-the-electric-car-december-09-2019/

    The American Love Affair with the Automobile

    美国人对汽车的热爱

    (17) https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2022/04/13/amtrak-acela-trains-delay/

    Amtrak’s faster, higher-tech Acela trains are delayed again

    美国铁路公司(Amtrak)速度更快、技术更高的亚塞拉(Acela)列车再次晚点

    (18) https://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/politics/7172/

    The Crumbling of America

    美国的崩溃

    (19) https://www.american-rails.com/1950s.html

    1950s Railroads, The Industry In Decline;

    20世纪50年代,铁路行业衰落;

    (20) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_railroad_accidents

    American Railroad Accidents

    美国铁路事故

    (21) Deadliest bridge collapses in the US in the last 50 years; 过去50年来美国最致命的桥梁坍塌;https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/15/us/bridge-collapse-history-trnd

    (22) https://news.yahoo.com/government-keeps-american-bridges-collapsing-162153121.html

    (23) https://www.cbsnews.com/news/thousands-of-us-bridges-vulnerable-to-collapse

    (24) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/18/nyregion/new-york-subway-system-failure-delays.html

    New York subway system

    纽约地铁系统

    (25) https://patch.com/maryland/havredegrace/amtrak-train-detaches-125-mph-near-havre-de-grace

    Amtrak train breaks apart traveling 125 mph along Acela corridor

    美铁列车在阿塞拉走廊以125英里/小时的速度行驶

    (26) https://www.trainconductorhq.com/how-fast-do-amtrak-trains-go/

    How Fast Do Amtrak Trains Go? Really? They’re Slow!

    美国铁路公司的列车有多快?真正地他们很慢!

    (27) https://abcnews.go.com/Travel/wireStory/higher-speed-florida-train-highest-us-death-rate-67434427

    Brightline death rates

    明亮干线死亡率

    (28) https://floridapolitics.com/archives/247058-brightline-february-train-car-derailment-comes-light-critics-call-disturbing

    Brightline derailments

    明亮干线脱轨

    (29) http://newsite.gobrightline.com/homepage

    Brightline home page

    明亮干线主页

    (30) https://www.injuryattorneyfla.com/brightline-train-accident.html

    (31) https://cs.trains.com/trn/f/111/t/267542.aspx?page=2

    (32) https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/shaping-our-future/all-aboard-florida/2018/06/21/brightline-fatality-29-year-old-man-who-stepped-front-train/721236002/

    (33) https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/mile-for-mile-floridas-brightline-is-the-nations-deadliest-train-line-26398130

    Mile for mile, Florida’s Brightline is the nation’s deadliest train line

    一英里接一英里,佛罗里达州的Brightline是美国最致命的铁路线

    (34) https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/new-lawsuit-would-keep-floridas-higher-speed-train-brightline-from-reaching-orlando-10824920

    New lawsuit would keep Florida’s ‘higher-speed’ train Brightline from reaching Orlando

    新的诉讼将阻止佛罗里达州的“高速”列车Brightline到达奥兰多

    (35) https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/brightline-deaths-in-south-florida-spur-push-for-state-oversight-10274789

    Brightline deaths in South Florida spur push for state oversight

    佛罗里达州南部Brightline死亡事件促使州政府加强监管

    (36) https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/floridas-high-speed-train-brightline-hit-a-pedestrian-for-the-sixth-time-10656101

    Florida’s ‘higher-speed’ train Brightline hit a pedestrian for the sixth time

    佛罗里达州“高速”列车Brightline第六次撞上行人

    (37) https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/opinion/letters-brightline-accidents-tragic-but-railway-really-blame/9evqeaR6V9bXTiqiZEJ0lK/

    Copyright © Larry RomanoffBlue Moon of ShanghaiMoon of Shanghai, 2022

    权所有©Larry Romanoff《上海的蓝月亮》上海的月亮2022