200 kph Uphill

That's what I found myself doing yesterday morning.  I wasn't driving, and I obviously wasn't on a bicycle.  I was on one of China's new 'bullet' trains on my way from Beijing to Taiyuan, which makes the 409 km (254 mile) journey in 3 hours and 25 minutes!  Beijing sits on a plain and Taiyuan sits in a 3000 foot basin surrounded by mountains, so there is a lot of 'up' between here and there. I've taken the old train to Taiyuan before (10+ hours overnight) and remember slowly winding our way up the mountains, so I was curious to see how they were going to get this thing up and over the mountains at the speed required to get there in 3 hours. 

Mountain range, meet Chinese ingenuity.  The tracks run in pretty much a straight line right through the mountain range.  Literally.   Several times we found ourselves in tunnels traveling uphill at 200 kph for 20 minutes.  You do the math (I can't).  It was amazing.

I got in about 11, had lunch and spent the afternoon with some friends, then hopped the 7:40pm train back to Beijing. 

I will now freely confess that I am a convert to high speed rail.  If I were president (of the US, not China), I would allow for only two spending items in my budget:  defense and high speed rail.