|Shanghai Hongqiao Train Station by Sjekster. China is currently running the fastest passenger trains in the world here.|
We were farther away from Beijing than New York is from Chicago, and yet while the normal Amtrak run from the Hudson to Lake Michigan takes 19 hours (though once, returning from a Bob Dylan concert, it took me three days, two of them stuck in a snowbank in northern Indiana), here in China this even longer journey could be measured in more appropriate units: it would take just 288 minutes. Four hours and 48 minutes. A quarter of the time it takes today to get to Chicago, and less than half the time that it used to take to get to Beijing… When she has finished building in 2012 what she began only in 2004, China will have more high-speed rail lines than the rest of the world put together.- Vanity Fair, "How Fast Can China Go?"
(Not to ignore the fact that such privileges, like other things in China are the province of the wealthy few).