Planned high-speed rail by country
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This article lists planned or proposed high-speed rail projects, arranged by country. Although many nations have done preliminary feasibility studies, many lines are eventually shelved or postponed due to high cost, and only a few nations of those proposing are actively building high-speed rail lines. Planned or proposed lines are therefore separated here from lines that are under construction, some nations having both. High-speed rail is public transport by rail at speeds in excess of 200 km/h (125 mph).
- 1 Planned / Proposed
- 1.1 Trans-Continental
- 1.2 Africa
- 1.3 Asia
- 1.4 Europe
- 1.5 North America
- 1.6 Oceania
- 1.7 South America
- 2 Standards
- 3 References
Planned / Proposed
In March 2011, contracts were awarded for a 130 km (81 mi) section of railway between Oued Tlélat and the Moroccan border. Running speeds will be 220 km/h (137 mph).
Work by ONCF is slated to begin in 2009 from Marrakech to Tangier in the north via Marrakech to Agadir in the south, and from Casablanca on the Atlantic to Oujda on the Algerian border. If the ONCF's Master Plan is pursued, the 1,500 kilometres of track may take until 2035 to complete at a cost of around 25 billion dirhams ($2.87 billion). Travel time from Casablanca to Marrakech could be cut to 1 hour and 20 minutes from over three hours, and from the capital Rabat to Tangier to 1 hour and 30 minutes from 4 hours and 30 minutes. In October 2007 a contract was signed with a consortium led by Alstom to build a high-speed railway between Kenitra and Tangier. On April 9, 2009, agreements were signed between ONCF and SNCF relating to the design, construction, commissioning, use of rolling stock, commercial services to be offered by the high-speed rail link, and maintenance of a 200 km stretch of track allowing a running speed of 320 km/hour.
On the 7th of June, 2010, Minister of Transport Sbusiso Ndebele said that plans were seriously being considered for a high-speed line from Johannesburg to Durban. The line would reduce the current journey time from 12h to about 3h. The 721 km line would involve major engineering challenges, including traversing the Drakensberg mountains. A high-speed line from Johannesburg to Cape Town is also under study.
Plans have been published to build a high speed railway between Rangoon and Kunming in China, a distance of 1920 km. Construction is said to start already during 2011. After the crashes in China it has been on hold.
Gulf Cooperation Council
The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia) plan a 2200 km rail network, Etihad Railway, which may include high speed rail from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.
While high-speed rail is neither in service nor under construction in India, the Indian government has expressed interest to construct about 4,500 km (2,800 mi) route length tracks of High Speed Rail lines over six corridors with a speed of 200 km/h (120 mph). The government of Kerala state is also has expressed interest in constructing a high-speed rail corridor from Kasargod in the north, to Thiruvanathapuram in the south; work on the corridor could begin in 2020.
Formation of National High Speed Rail Authority(NHSRA), a body that will look after the implementation on High Speed Rail in India had been announced in Rail budget of 2012-2013, although no firm date has been set for construction initiation or completion. Central Japan Railway Company has promoted the Shinkansen for India, while France has also shown interest in collaboration for long-term development of the Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad route. Spain's Talgo has also expressed interest in the projects, and plans to open an office in India to promote its technology.
Indonesian authorities have expressed an interest in high-speed rail for the densely populated island of Java, probably linking the cities of Jakarta, Bandung, and Surabaya. Since 2008, government with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Transportation Consultant has done pre-Feasibility Study and in April 2012 will begin construction plans. The Jakarta-Surabaya 685 kilometers fast train will connect both cities in 2 hours 53 minutes with maximum speed 300 kilometers/hour and average speed 250 kilometers/hours. The construction project will need $14.3 billion, exclude land acquisitions and detail engineering design, so the total cost predicted was $20 billion.
A Hydrogen Hi-Speed Rail Super Highway (H2RSH) train to Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is under feasibility study and due for 2012 construction start date. Caedz, LLC a San Francisco based economic re-engineering firm led a consortium of multinational investors signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Indonesian Kadin on December 1, 2009 in Los Angeles, USA.
Israel currently has no high-speed trains, with all traction provided by diesel-based equipment. A new rail line between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, called Plan A1, to cut travel time between the two cities to just over 30 minutes (currently over 95 minutes) is under construction by Israel Railways and expected to begin service in 2017. In addition, the entire railway system is currently undergoing extensive upgrades and planned electrification, so that by early in the next decade, the three major metropolitan areas of Jerusalem, Haifa, and Beer Sheva which are located in the interior, in the north and in the south of the country, respectively, will all be reachable in thirty to forty minutes from the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv. The current speed limit on the national railway system is 150 km/h, though is expected to rise to 160 km/h by 2013. As part of Israel Railways' electrification project (in which about US$3 billion will be invested), portions of the network are to be reconfigured to allow operation at speeds of up to 200 km/h using 25kV 50Hz AC electrification. In spring 2010, the government of Israel instructed Israel Railways to investigate alternative railway alignments that would allow for a 2½ hour rail journey from Tel Aviv to Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba, which is located at the Southern tip of the country across rugged terrain.
A Japanese consortium led by the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) has been researching new high-speed rail systems based on magnetic levitation since the 1970s. Although the trains and guideways are technologically ready and over 100,000 people have ridden them, high costs remains as barriers. MLX01 test trains on the Yamanashi Test Line have reached speeds of 581 km/h (361 mph) (crewed), making them the fastest trains in the world. New L0 series maglev trains are intended to be deployed on the new Tokyo – Osaka Shinkansen maglev route, called the Chuo Shinkansen. 2025 has been selected as the deadline for Nagoya - Tokyo maglev operation.
Extensions to the current network expansions, notably from Hakodate to Sapporo, have been approved for construction. The route of the final extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen has not been finalised. It is ultimately to provide a northern route through to Osaka
Qazaqstan Temir Zholy, the national rail company of Kazakhstan, has awarded a contract to oversee the design and construction of a high-speed line from Astana (the country's capital) to Almaty (its largest city). The line is expected to be 1,011 km (628 mi) long, and will travel via Karaganda and Balkhash. A 10 km (6.2 mi) viaduct across Lake Balkhash is planned near Sayaq. The trains are expected by be built by Tulpar-Talgo (a joint venture established in 2011 between Qazaqstan Temir Zholy and Spanish company Talgo), and will have a maximum speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), completing the trip in five and a half hours. The system will use Russian gauge, the same as used by Kazakhstan's existing conventional lines.
Plans have been published to build a high speed railway between Vientiane and China, where it will link to Chinese high speed railways. Construction is said to start already during 2011. Vientiane is located close to the Thai border where are plans of a high speed railway to Bangkok. These plans have been put on hold by China and Thailand has changed its priority routes after its new administration was elected.
Malaysia and Singapore
A high-speed rail running at 300 km/h (186 mph) to link Kuala Lumpur and Singapore was proposed in 2006 by YTL Corporation, operator of the KLIA Express in Malaysia, although the company did propose a similar system back in the late 1990s. A Bangkok - Kuala Lumpur - Singapore line spanning the three nations has been suggested previously, though no action has been taken. Plans for the project were put on hold in April 2008 due to high cost to the government, estimated at about RM8 billion. The project also faces opposition from rail operator rivals such as Keretapi Tanah Melayu, and the liberalisation of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore air route further dampened prospects for the proposal.
In 2007, Siemens expressed interest in becoming the technology provider for the proposed rail link. By the middle of 2009, YTL again revived talk on the project and expressed hope that the Malaysian government would relook at the proposal, claiming that delays in the project has caused development costs to rise over the years.
In 2010, Malaysia had made a proposal to revive the project. In the new proposal, the route will be in two phases; the first one is from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore while the second phase will be from Kuala Lumpur to Penang.
On 19 February 2013, Singapore and Malaysia announced that they officially agreed to build a high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore by 2020. The KL - Singapore section will be about 400 km long with an expected travel time of 90 minutes. The construction cost is expected to be MYR 8-14 billion (approximately USD 3-5 billion).
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that a high-speed rail network will be built which will connect Peshawar to Karachi via all major cities of Pakistan during his visit to China in June 2013.. Government is making plans for this project.
San Miguel Corporation will be proposing to the Philippine government of building a bullet train system connecting Laoag City in the northern part of Luzon island, passing through Manila, and finally ending in the Bicol Region in Southeastern Luzon. With this, the Philippines will be giving Vietnam a challenge as the first Southeast Asian country to build a bullet train system.
In April 2013, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) announced that Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) plans to fund the Clark-Metro Manila high speed train project under a Build-Operate-Transfer scheme. The project will be called “Express Airport Trains” which will have at least three stops in Metro Manila and will be built between the lanes of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx). The planned stops are in Quezon City, Manila, and Makati City.
Taiwan (Republic of China)
Stations at Miaoli, Changhua, Yunlin are planned to open in 2015, there are plans to link to Kaohsiung station from Zuoying Station.
The State Railway of Thailand and the Thai Ministry of Transport have plans for several high speed rail lines. In October 2009, it was reported that funding was being sought for four lines, linking Bangkok to Chiang Mai (711 km), Nong Khai (600 km), Chanthaburi (330 km), and Padang Besar (983 km). In November, it was reported that the Thai cabinet had approved the plan, with the shorter route to Chanthaburi being intended for construction first. The Total Cost of all routes are 800 billion baht or 25 billion USD.
In October 2010, the Thai parliament approved initial proposals for a high speed rail network to be built with Chinese industrial partners; 5 lines capable of 250 km/h would radiate from Bangkok. After the new election of Shinawatra, plans for Bangkok-Korat and Pattaya-Bangkok-Hua Hin have been pushed over the former 5 routes.
Vietnam's national railway company, Vietnam Railways, has proposed a 1,630-kilometre (1,013 mi) high-speed rail link between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, capable of running at 250 to 300 km/h (155 to 186 mph). The funding of the $56 billion line would mostly come from the Vietnamese government, with the help of Japanese aid. Technology used on the Japanese Shinkansen has been suggested to be used for this new railway.
Current technology allows trains travelling on the current, single-track Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City line to complete the journey in approximately thirty hours. Once completed, the high-speed rail line would have 2 parallel standard gauge tracks with no direct road crossings, and would allow trains to complete the Hanoi–Ho Chi Minh City journey in approximately 5 hours. The existing line uses narrow gauge tracks common in Southeast Asia.
Vietnamese prime minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng had originally set an ambitious target to complete the line by 2013, three years sooner than the previously announced nine-year construction time. Later reports suggested Japanese development aid would only be available in stages, with completion of the line not expected until the mid-2030s; the same reports asserted that aid would be conditioned upon the export of Shinkansen technology. On June 19, 2010, after a month of deliberation, Vietnam's National Assembly rejected the high speed rail proposal due to its high cost, leaving the project's future in doubt; National Assembly deputies are said to have asked for further study of the project.
In January 2011, Vietnamese Minister of Transport, Ho Nghia Dung, suggested the line might be completed by 2030. The length of the proposed line was listed as 1555 km long with trains running at 300 km/h. After the rejection of the original plan by the house of deputies, Minister Dung has asked for a new feasibility plan by the end of 2011, whilst the Japanese development agency has suggested an interim solution where the line could be built to separate north and south sections.
- Copenhagen to Ringsted: Planned to open in 2018, the 60 kilometres (37 mi) route will initially run at 200 km/h, but higher speeds are planned later.
Ireland (including Northern Ireland)
- Brenner Base Tunnel
- In March 2011, a contract for the second phase of construction on the Milan - Verona high speed line was signed. This section will be 39 km long. Construction should be complete by 2015.
- The Norwegian government has examined five long distance high-speed lines radiating out from Oslo to Bergen, Kristiansand/Stavanger, Trondheim, Göteborg, and Stockholm. A sixth line would be a costal line between Bergen, Haugesund and Stavanger. At least two investigations on cost and benefit have been made, released 2007 and 2012. These plans were shelved in 2013, although still open for restart in a decade or so.
- There are ongoing and coming projects for high-speed upgrades on the closest 50–100 km from Oslo on each of these lines (except direction Stockholm). They have good potential for regional trains. Upgrade and new construction to high speed standard have to some extent already taken place like for Gardermobanen. The time plan is to have 200 km/h or more from Oslo to Porsgrunn (partially slower), to Hamar and to Råde east of Moss around 2020-2025, and to Halden and Hønefoss later, maybe 2030.
The regional projects near Oslo have higher priority than the long distance projects. They are also preconditions for the long distance projects, since they will be used by long distance trains.
- Warsaw to Poznań and Wrocław via Łódź (project cancelled in 2011)
- Warszawa-Toruń-Gdańsk high-speed railway
Formal studies will be complete on the new Moscow-St.Petersburg line by the start of 2011 due to congestion between Moscow and St.Petersburg. The line is expected to be 660 km long and support speeds of up to 400 km/h. The expected journey time would be 2h 30ms. It is expected the line will include stops at both St.Petersburg and Moscow region airports.
Many of the newly built railway lines in Sweden are adapted for speeds up to 250 km/h as Botniabanan, Grödingebanan, Mälarbanan, Svealandsbanan, Västkustbanan, Vänernbanan (Gothenburg - Trollhättan). The problem that is slowing down high-speed rail in Sweden is the present signaling system (ATC), which does not allow speeds over 200 km/h. It can be upgraded, but it will not be done since it shall be replaced by the European signaling system ERTMS level 2 on major lines in the near future, allowing high speeds up to 250 km/h. ERTMS level 2 has been installed and is being tried out on Botniabanan, and that railway allows 250 km/h, although no passenger train goes above 200 for now. The train set X55-Regina has been delivered to the rail company SJ with the max speed of 200 km/h but with the option to upgrade the EMU to 250 km/h when possible. Also the mix with freight trains slow down the practical speed.
There are four major high-speed projects proposed in Sweden with speeds between 250 and 350 km/h.
- Norrbotniabanan, Umeå – Luleå, is a future major rail project that will be built for 250 km/h with mixed passenger and freight traffic in northern Sweden, mainly to relieve the highly congested and old single track Main Line Through Upper Norrland increase freight traffic, and greatly speed up passenger traffic along the coast.
- Ostlänken: Järna – Linköping, which would relieve the congested and slow conventional main lines on the stretch Järna-Linköping, Södra stambanan.
- Götalandsbanan: Gothenburg - Jönköping - Linköping on to Stockholm via Ostlänken. It would reduce travel time Gothenburg-Stockholm from 3.05 h to 2h.
- Europabanan: Jönköping – Helsingborg. Possibly extended to Helsingör (Tunnel under Oresund) and Copenhagen.
The three first listed, but not Europabanan, have been prospected in detail by Trafikverket. In several cases the detailed alignment has been decided. The Swedish Conservative government decided in 2012 to have construction start for Ostlänken in 2017, but with mostly max 250 km/h, after putting all projects on hold in the budget of 2011. There is no funding for Trafikverket, The Swedish Infrastructure Agency, to start building the other projects before 2021.
Comprehensive Network under construction, partly in use.
On the 10 January 2012, the British government gave the go head for the UKs second high speed line, High Speed 2. The line will link London & Birmingham in phase 1 by 2026. The line will then be extended to Manchester and Leeds by 2033 and possibly Scotland in phases 2 and 3.
The UK currently has five lines with a permitted speed of 200 km/h or more. These are the:
- High Speed 1 (300 km/h, 186 mph)
- East Coast Main Line (200 km/h, 125 mph)
- West Coast Main Line (200 km/h, 125 mph)
- Great Western Main Line (200 km/h, 125 mph)
- Cross Country Route (200 km/h, 125 mph)
For Northern Ireland, see Ireland, above.
A possible international high-speed rail link between Montreal and Boston or New York City is often discussed by regional leaders, though little progress has been made. On another international line between Vancouver and Seattle, work is in progress to improve the existing Amtrak Cascades service, though it will not reach speeds normally associated with high-speed rail
The Secretariat of Communications and Transport of Mexico proposed a high-speed rail link that would transport passengers from Mexico City to Guadalajara, Jalisco, with stops in the cities of Querétaro, Guanajuato, Leon and Irapuato; and a connected line running from the port city of Manzanillo to Aguascalientes. The train which would travel at 300 km/h allows passengers to travel from Mexico City to Guadalajara in just 2 hours at an affordable price (the same trip by road would last 7 hours). The network would also connect the network to Monterrey, Chilpancingo, Cuernavaca, Toluca, Puebla, Tijuana, Hermosillo, Cordoba, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Colima, Zacatecas, Torreon, Chihuahua, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Mexicali Saltillo and Acapulco by 2015. The whole project was projected to cost 240 billion pesos, or about 25 billion dollars. Mexican billionaire Carlos Helú expressed an interest in investing in high speed rail. Most recently the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico has highlighted as one of the most probable areas for the development of high speed rail in Latin America with the Transpeninsular Fast Train for bidding in September 2011.
Acela Express trains are the only true high-speed trainsets in the United States. Amtrak uses them on a high-speed service between Washington, D.C. and Boston via New York City and Philadelphia along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) in the Northeast United States. The tilting design allows the train to travel at higher speeds on the sharply curved NEC without disturbing passengers, by lowering lateral forces.
There has been a resurgence of interest in recent decades, with many plans being examined for high-speed rail across the country:
- In 2002, the Texas High Speed Rail & Transportation Corporation  (THSRTC), a grass roots organization dedicated to bringing high speed rail to Texas, was established. In 2006, American Airlines and Continental Airlines formally joined THSRTC in an effort to bring high speed rail to Texas as a passenger collector system for the airlines.
- A route from Chicago to the NEC/Philadelphia via the Keystone Corridor HSR system is also under study.
- The California High-Speed Rail Authority was created in 1996 by the state to implement an extensive 800-mile (1,300 km) rail system that is estimated to cost about $40 billion. Once built, the system will not require operating subsidies, and it is expected to generate $1 billion in annual profits. Construction has been approved with the passing of proposition 1A, in which a $9.95 billion general obligation bond was authorized by voters. The system would provide high-speed service between and among major cities, like Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, and would allow travel between Los Angeles' Union Station and San Francisco's Transbay Terminal in two and a half hours. On 2 December 2010, the California High-Speed Rail Authority announced the first section of the Californian High-Speed Rail network had been selected and construction is due to start in 2012. The line will run from near Madera south to Corcoran, with stations at Fresno and Hanford, at a length of 105 km running through a rural part of the San Joaquin Valley. The line will connect with traditional Amtrak lines at each end. In December 2010, that funding was doubled after the newly elected governors of Ohio and Wisconsin decided to cancel right of way projects which had been allocated $1.2bn of funding by the federal government. Of that amount, $616m was then granted to California in addition to funding already promised, which, when combined with a state bond issue to match the new funding, provided over $1.2bn in addition funding. This will be used to add an additional 88 km of track, bringing the line to the edge of Bakersfield.
- Desert Xpress proposes 125 to 150 M.P.H. electric trains running between Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada.
- In September 2010 Amtrak unveiled proposals for 355 km/h trains to run between Washington DC and Boston, stopping at various cities along the way including Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. The end to end journey time would be 3h. The proposals would cost $117bn and would take 25 years to complete. Amtrak estimates that the capacity would be needed, as even after current investment programmes, the Acela trains will be full by 2030. The proposal envisages completion by 2040.
There have been several proposals to develop a HSR line between Sydney and Canberra (via SYD airport and CBR airport) to link the two cities and to provide an effective second airport for Sydney. The line is also proposed to eventually continue on to Melbourne (also possibly via MEL airport). It is worth noting that the SYD-MEL air traffic corridor is one of the busiest in the world, HSR would allow for journey times city center to city center quicker than flights plus associated procedures and travel. In September 2010, Infrastructure Partnership Australia (IPA) and AECOM proposed an east coast very fast train corridor from the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane (Queensland) and onto Sydney (N.S.W), Canberra (A.C.T.) and through to Melbourne (Victoria). East Coast High Capacity Infrastructure Corridors
A Buenos Aires-Rosario-Córdoba high-speed railway was planned, operating at speeds of 320 km/h (200 mph). Construction was scheduled to begin in 2008 and work was expected to take around four years, but the project is currently "on hold" due to the financial crisis.
Other projected high speed rail lines include:
- Buenos Aires-Mar del Plata (400 km [250 mi]): A new line to the seaside beach resort city and major fishing port of Mar del Plata, 400 km (250 mi) south of Buenos Aires city is in the planning stages.
- Buenos Aires-Mendoza (1200 km [750 mi]) (Planned).
A high-speed rail connecting São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro is currently under development. The high-speed line is expected to be operational by 2017 or 2018. The Rio-São Paulo High Speed rail (Portuguese: Trem de Alta Velocidade Rio-São Paulo; Abbreviation: TAV RJ-SP) is a high-speed rail project with the purpose of connecting Brazil's two largest metropoleis: São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro with an extension to Campinas, another metropolis conurbated with São Paulo and 100 km distant from it. The proposed route is through one of Brazil's most mountainous and urbanized terrains resulting the need of around 40% of the tracks to be built through viaducts, bridges and tunnels. Such massive need of structures has made the proposed project's price spike to US$16 billion.
- Brasília - Goiania - Rio Verde - Itumbiara - Uberlandia - Uberaba - Ribeirao Preto - Campinas - São Paulo - Rio de Janeiro (1200 km).
- Belo Horizonte - São Paulo (594 km).
- Curitiba - São Paulo (410 km).
- Santos - São Paulo (80 km).
- Brasília - Goiânia (200 km).
Track gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) (standard gauge)
Proposed commercial speed: 350 km/h
Government mandatory stations: Rio de Janeiro Centre, Rio de Janeiro Intl Airport, Volta Redonda/Barra Mansa, São José dos Campos, São Paulo/Guarulhos Intl Airport, São Paulo Centre, São Paulo/Viracopos Intl Airport and Campinas Centre.
Most of the above high speed lines are assumed to be 25 kV AC (except for Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway which use 15 kV, and old Italian, part of Belgian and part of Russian high speed lines which use 3 kV), a majority left-hand running (except in Germany, Spain, Russia, and Shanghai Maglev Train.), almost all use conventional tracks and generally use standard gauge (except in Finland, Russia etc.) on their high speed lines, even where the national gauge is different. This will enhance interoperability should high speed lines in different countries meet. There are many different train protection systems in use. In Europe, however they will be replaced by the ERTMS/ETCS system in most countries (using standard gauge) before 2020, which will further enhance interoperability.
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