High-Speed Empire

Chinese rail is sprawling, modern, and elegant. It's also convoluted, corroding, and financially alarming. Wanna take a ride?

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Tom Zoellner is an associate professor of English at Chapman University and the author, most recently, of Train: Riding the Rails That Created the Modern World -- From the Trans-Siberian to the Southwest Chief, out in paperback this month from Penguin-Random House.

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