One of China’s most ambitious infrastructure programs is the one to develop it’s high-speed rail network. Over the last ten years, China has gone from a country with practically no high-speed rail lines, to the country with the most such lines . By 2012, China is expected to have more miles of high-speed rail lines than the rest of the world put together, and plans are in place for a network of 31,000 miles by 2020.
The train has proven to be enormously popular, requiring us to buy our tickets a day in advance. The good news is that the train was exceptionally comfortable, took just 30 minutes to reach our destination and the cost of a one-way ticket was only 15 yuan. That’s less than three US dollars. The other good news is that Dujiangyan is a delightful town to visit. It sits at the edge of the mountains, and there are a number of beautiful temples, pavilions and parklands in town and in the surrounding hills
The city developed 2,500 years ago when Li Bing created the world’s first irrigation canal. By erecting dikes and dredging the Min River during the dry season, he was able to build his canal. The canal was configured to divert 40 percent of the river’s flow away from the main channel thereby providing irrigation water for the farmlands and greatly reducing the danger of flooding downstream. The canal that Li created is still in use today. For his accomplishments Li has become a legendary figure in Chinese history.