Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Yaks threaten China’s ‘miracle’ train line

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Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Yaks threaten China’s ‘miracle’ train line
Crossing the rugged Qinghai plateau and climbing to 5,072 metres (16,640ft) above sea level, the $4.2bn (£2.3bn) railway was hailed by president Hu Jintao as an engineering miracle for the world. But it was always likely to be harder to maintain than to build.

It was the price that caught my eye. Frankly, compared to the cost of the Canada line, it looks like a bargain to me – but then if you are the Chinese government you are probably not faced with the sort of cost structure this P3 is going to land us with for the duration of its contract.  And, we don’t have to worry about permafrost or Yaks. Though on Sea Island I hope they have a really good contingency plan for rising sea levels and liquefying soils.

“Harder to maintain than build” is probably true of every railway ever built.

Written by Stephen Rees

July 28, 2006 at 6:58 pm

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