TECH China developing an even faster high-speed train


China developing an even faster high-speed train

China Daily

15:23, March 10, 2023

China has launched the CR450 science and technology innovation project to develop an even faster train, a national political adviser said.

Photo: China Daily

According to the national plan, a more advanced bullet train, the CR450 — with a top operating speed of 400 kilometers per hour and an experimental speed of up to 450 km/h — will soon be unveiled, said Zhao Hongwei, chief researcher of the China Academy of Railway Sciences and a member of 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, to China Daily.

Zhao also noted that by then, China's railway network will have been extended to 165,000 km, of which 50,000 km will be high-speed railways.

Research and development efforts of the faster bullet train are outlined in China's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), she said.

In January last year, general provisional technical specifications for the CR450 EMU were released by the China State Railway Group, the national railway operator.

"By the end of last year, we drew up technical specifications for 13 subsystems of the EMU, and also carried out some early exploratory experiments," Zhao said.

"Based on those specifications and requirements, we are working on the technical design of the train. The general design and the schemes for the subsystems are expected to be finalized next year, and the train will be unveiled in the near future."

Zhao led the development of China's first self-designed bullet train known as Fuxing, or Rejuvenation. Compared with the difficulties researchers faced while developing the first generation of Fuxing train, the challenges they are facing now are not quite the same.

"There is no reference that can be used from other countries," she said. "We have to be the pioneers and find answers for a train with a speed of 400 km/h."

For example, the noise level of a train traveling that fast is 3 decibels higher than the level of a train traveling at 350 km/h, which is as fast as current high-speed trains operate in China.

"We have to lower the noise level on the new trains to make passengers feel more comfortable. It is challenging work," Zhao said.

She is confident that the CR450 train will be advanced among its peers worldwide when it makes its debut.

She also called for improving the standard system for railways and promoting international mutual recognition of the system's safety certification.

"Standard is an important foundation of national socioeconomic development, and also a core element of industrial development," she said.

With the rapid development of railways in the country, China has built a standard railway system. To promote the industry's high-quality development, it is necessary to further strengthen and improve the standard system and the formulation of standards in relevant fields, Zhao said.

"We should built a more comprehensive standard system, not only for the bullet trains, but also for other fundamental infrastructure such as rail tracks, communication, signals and inspection technology," she added.

With the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, China's railway products are favored by many countries. To sell trains to some European countries, multiple certificates are required, which costs time, money and human resources and affects supply.

Repetitive certificates also puts a burden on enterprises.

"If the standard system and certifications are recognized internationally, it would eliminate the need for repetitive certification," Zhao said.

China has been working on improving its standard railway system.

Last year, two international standards for high-speed railway infrastructure design and power supply, which were mainly drafted and developed by China, were published by the International Union of Railways, demonstrating the nation's contribution to promoting the internationalization of high-speed railway standards, according to China State Railway Group.

China's railway system, particularly the high-speed railway network, has seen rapid development over the past 15 years.

By the end of last year, China's railway network covered 155,000 km, of which 42,000 km are high-speed railways, accounting for more than two-thirds of the world's high-speed railways.

According to the China State Railway Group, China has developed the most comprehensive technologies and has the richest railway management experience in the world.

With significant progress and major breakthroughs achieved in a short time, China ranks first globally in terms of the scale of its high-speed rail network that is either operational or under construction, the company added.

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