July 11, 2011
Only ten days after the inauguration of the high-speed railway between Beijing and Shanghai, a power failure stopped the trains. The traffic was interrupted for 90 minutes on Sunday. A total of 19 trains were affected. The reason for the power failure were storms and strong winds. Passengers reported that lights and air conditioning had failed. “It is pitch dark and we sweat,” a traveler posted a short message on Weibo.com . “Is this the so-called high technology?” Asked another.
The total of 90 trains run daily in both directions between Beijing and Shanghai with up to 350 km/h, the trip takes just under five hours and is twice as fast as the previous routes.
The most expensive seat in business class costs 1750 yuan (190 euros), the least expensive costs 555 yuan. 27 trains travel at cruising speed 250 kilometers per hour and offer nonstop trip to Shanghai from just 410 yuan (45 €).
A record pace of construction had begun since April 2008, organized by four provinces. The railway is the recovery plan for the economy. Traffic planners expect “more than 80 million passengers per year.” Its consequences have changed the landscapes once dominated by rice fields and fish ponds. The area of the route from Beijing to Shanghai concentrates a quarter of the population in China.