It may only be a spit away by plane, but for those of us too
cheap environmentally concerned to fly, getting up to Beijing for the weekend is a bitch (despite our love of munching through a bottomless nosebag of sunflower seeds to looped pan-pipe renditions of Celine Dion songs). Which is why we don’t go.
So the proposed high-speed line between Shanghai and BJ, which will reportedly cane it along at 350km/h and take less than 5 hours, seemed like another winning idea by the folks at the Ministry of Railways when it was finally approved last year, especially since the success of the new bullet trains .
However, the project is floundering. The original deadline was that catch-all justification for just about any scheme you like, the Beijing Olympics. When it that was clear that target was too ambitious, the 2010 World Expo (which we’re sure will be on everyone’s lips, just as soon as BeiBei, JingJing and Co. sling their hooks) was set as the deadline. Now after further budgetary quibbles, the date is closer to 2013, according to an AFP report, with the government approving the line’s RMB 230 billion ($31 billion) budget in September.
So, with ever-rising construction costs, plus the recent track record (hoho) of high-speed railway projects, it looks like Beijing is going to be ten hours of seed-munching away for us rail-bound cheapskates for the forseeable.
Photo from BBC News