reported: "The high-speed rail link China Railway Construction Corporation is building in Saudi Arabia doesn’t just connect the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. It shows how Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America are holding the world economy together.

"Ties between emerging markets form what economists at HSBC Holdings and Royal Bank of Scotland Group call the “new Silk Road” – a $2,8-trillion version of the Asia-focused network of trade routes along which commerce prospered starting in about the second century.

"Today’s world-spanning web is insulating markets such as China from the drag of weak recoveries in the advanced world and providing global growth with a new power source. Stephen King, HSBC’s chief economist, predicts the relationships will strengthen and lists them as a reason for his forecast that emerging markets will grow about three times faster than rich nations this year and next on average.

As part of its ambitious plan, the Chinese Railway Ministry is planning to spread thirty-five high-speed rail lines measuring 11,000 kilometres throughout the country. China Daily quoted Zheng Jian, chief planner with railway ministry, as saying that around 13,000 kilometres of high-speed railways, capable of handling trains travelling at more than 200 kilometres/hour, could be completed and put into service by 2012. The construction of an additional 5,000-kilometres of high-speed railways will begin soon. At least five railway routes will be able to accommodate trains traveling at speeds of 350 kilometres/hour, Zheng said. The five lines include three north-south routes: Beijing-Shanghai; Beijing-Guangzhou (Hong Kong); and Beijing-Harbin (Dalian). The two east-west high-speed lines are Xuzhou-Lanzhou and Shanghai-Kunming. The five lines along with three other lines with a designed speed of between 200 and 350 kilometres/hour, will become the trunk lines of China's future high-speed passenger rail network. So far, China has built 185 kilometres of rail track, including the country's first such rail link, between Beijing and Tianjin, which opened last August. The Beijing-Shanghai rail line may end up being the fastest - the ministry said in a news release that the trip will take four hours, which means trains will likely exceed 350 kilometres/hour.

KOREA-JAPAN UNDERSEA TUNNEL Around that time (mid-2002), an easing of relations between North and South Korea gave impetus to the Japan–Korea-tunnel project. The North and South Korean governments had agreed on an inter-Korean rail line to run from Seoul to Pyongyang and then on to Sinuiju, a border city in the north on the Yalu River, as well as a road running parallel to the railway.[12] From Sinuiju trains could then cross the border and access the Trans-Chinese Railway (TCR), and then Russia's Trans-Siberia Railway (TSR) which would lead on to all of Europe's rail networks.[12] The tunnel would also assist in the creation of the proposed BESETO (Beijing–Seoul–Tokyo) Highway Plan which would connect six megacities (Shanghai, Tianjin, Beijing, Seoul, Osaka and Tokyo), each having a population of greater than 10 million people.

AsiaWheeling wrote off a trip from Urumqi to Kashgar, in the restive west: "Scott and I had the two bottom bunks of the 2nd class, or so called “hard sleeper,” the two top bunks were occupied by two pleasant, but un-talkative Chinese gentleman. One of these fellows did inform us that he was from Kashgar, and proceeded to spend a large amount of time scrutinizing our lonely planet phrase-book and muttering under his breath.

"Chinese trains are nice. Unlike Indian trains, there are many many sleeping cars, and each is not too crowded. There is also a genuine dining car, with (I was quite astounded to learn) affordable prices. Every car has unlimited hot water, steaming forth from the rusty nozzle of a somewhat groady machine. I guess you could call it a samovar of types. And there was an unceasing flow of people using it to make primarily tea and instant noodles..."


Read Quote of Xu Yi's answer to Is the train from Beijing to Shanghai worth taking for tourists? on Quora

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