A new golden age of rail

Chinese authorities have significantly built out high-speed rail as part of the current five-year plan and have made no secret of wanting to be the world’s leaders in terms of track length and number of lines. Now they have announced a ‘one belt, one road’ policy, also known as the ‘silk road’

The ‘one belt, one road’ initiative is designed to connect – via rail and sea – China to Europe through India and Africa in one direction, and to the South Pacific in the other.1 China is looking for ways to boost its economy now that its growth is slowing, and one way to do that is to look outward. The businesses working in China’s rail sector have in many cases worked with Western companies and, through technological share, obtained intellectual property that puts them on par with these global leaders.

The UK’s High Speed 2 (HS2) would represent just a small fraction of the record-breaking lines being built and planned in China. Phase one is designed to run 192km between London Euston and the Midlands, with phase two potentially extending to the North-West and North-East of England and perhaps even beyond into Scotland. Yet at an estimated cost of at least £50bn the funding behind HS2 has created some controversy and public support is patchy at best.

Justin Sumner – The Boston Company Asset Management, a BNY Mellon company

1 JOC.com, ‘What is China’s ‘one belt one road’?’

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