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Trains to Beijing running at full speed

CHINA increased the maximum speed of bullet trains on the Shanghai-Beijing line to 350 kilometers per hour yesterday, six years after a fatal accident led to a speed cap.

The limit was reduced to 300kph after 40 people died in a high-speed train crash near Wenzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province, in July 2011.

The decision to increase the speed means that China once again has the world’s fastest train service.

The new limit cuts the time of the 1,318-kilometer journey between Shanghai and the capital to four hours and 28 minutes, saving passengers nearly an hour.

A total of 14 trains a day will run between the two cities at the higher speed.

At 9am yesterday, a Fuxing (meaning rejuvenation) train left Beijing, beginning the formal 350kph service.

“These trains are so popular that the tickets for today’s services sold out a week ago,” said Huang Xin, an official with China Railway Corp.

Connecting the country’s major financial and trade hub with the capital, the line is one of the busiest in the country, carrying more than 100 million passengers a year.

Lu Dongfu, China Railway’s general manager, said the line had been built to the world’s highest standards and the Fuxing trains were designed to run at a maximum speed of 350kph.

“Operating the Fuxing on this route at a speed of 350kph is without question in terms of safety, reliability and comfort,” Lu said.

The Fuxing trains are a substantial upgrade on the previous bullet trains, known as Hexie (meaning harmony).

Designed and manufactured in China, the Fuxing is more spacious and energy-efficient, with a longer service life and better reliability.

Ticket prices for the service will not be raised for the time being, said He Huawu, of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. He is a special technical adviser to the corporation’s general manager.

The Fuxing trains have completed 600,000km of performance tests and has a designed service life of 30 years, said Yu Hongliang, a mechanic with Beijing Railway Bureau.

It is fitted with more modern features such as power outlets, USB ports and free Wi-Fi.

Compared with the Hexie, its power consumption per 100km is 10 percent less when running at 350kph, said Zhang Bo, of the China Academy of Railway Sciences.

The train also has a sophisticated monitoring system that automatically slows the train in case of emergency or abnormal conditions.

China’s high-speed rail network is the largest in the world, with 22,000km currently in operation. About a third of it was designed to run at speeds of 350kph.

Chinese-manufactured high-speed trains have been sold to Indonesia, Russia, Iran and India.

The Fuxing trains can be adapted to various geological and operational situations, including extreme climates, a core competitive strength in the global market, He said.


 

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