Fifteen years ago, it could be said that the United States was further ahead in the development of a high-speed rail network than China was and would remain so for the next few years. Upgrades to the Northeast Corridor in New England would allow the soon to be introduced Acela to reach speeds up to 150 miles per hour in some segments. Plans for other high-speed rail lines in Florida and other states were moving forward. China on the other hand, had zero miles of high-speed rail.
Today, the situation is completely reversed. Since the opening of its first high-speed line in 2003, the Chinese high-speed rail network is now the largest in the world, with roughly 7,500 miles of track in service. To put this in perspective, that is the equivalent of building three separate high-speed lines between New York and Los Angeles. The most amazing fact is that, despite these accomplishments, this is only the beginning. The Chinese government is planning on doubling the size of its network in the coming years to a total of about 15,000 miles.