Two high speed trains at Tianjin Station. (Pic: Wikimedia)

Greater Manchester takes lead from China on environmental and transport issues.


“Experiencing train travel in China emphasised what is possible when ambitious technology, infrastructure investment and innovation is married with sensible regulation.”

Those are the words of Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, who is on a three day trip to China. He’s hoping to establish links between the North East UK city-region and cities across rapidly-developing China.

On the first day of his visit the Mayor rode on the fastest passenger train in the world. The trip from Beijing to Tianjin took in a new 73 mile high-speed line that has reduced travel time between the two largest cities in Northern China from 70 to 30 minutes.

The journey time between the two Chinese cities is quicker than than it takes a passenger in Greater Manchester to travel from Wigan Wallgate to Manchester city centre, which is just 17 miles.

Andy Burnham, said:  “Imagine travelling more than 70 miles on a super-fast service in exactly the same time it takes to catch a rattling Northern train just eight miles from Altrincham to Manchester. It re-enforced to me the scale of the challenge we face in Greater Manchester to improve the railways so that they work for everyone.

“Railway passengers in the North of England deserve a service every bit as clean, comfortable and reliable as those travelling in Northern China.”

A spokesperson for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority said that it was hoped the Mayor’s visit to China would ”aid the development Greater Manchester’s ambitious plans for delivering clean air, decarbonisation, and an end to single-use plastics.”

EJ Ward

EJ manages all news content for Panda Radio in the UK, and prepares news for other stations in our radio group. Experienced in news reporting, and specialising in breaking news and political reporting, as well as on-the-ground reporting from major UK incidents. EJ is always on the hunt for hard news, specifically content relating to the UK, Europe and China. Find him on Twitter @EJWardNews