China’s Next-gen Bul­let Trains

China Pictorial (English) - - Contents - Edited by Gong Haiy­ing

Ever since China be­gan build­ing its first high-speed rail­way in 2004, the coun­try’s high-speed rail con­struc­tion has de­vel­oped rapidly. In 2016, four ma­jor high-speed rail lines opened, ex­pand­ing the to­tal length of China’s high-speed rail net­work to more than 22,000 kilo­me­ters, top in the world. In April of this year, high-speed rails were rated the best of the “four in­no­va­tions of mod­ern China” that are the most ap­peal­ing to youths from 20 coun­tries in­volved in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. High-speed rails are be­com­ing a “Chi­nese spe­cialty” that many for­eign young­sters want to sam­ple.

At 11:05 a.m. on June 26, 2017, two newly de­vel­oped elec­tric mul­ti­ple unit (EMU) trains, named Fux­ing (lit­er­ally, “re­ju­ve­na­tion”), were of­fi­cially launched on the Beijing-shang­hai high­speed rail­way.

The Fux­ing train, to which China pos­sesses com­plete in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights, is a new model fol­low­ing the CRH model.

Lu Dongfu, gen­eral man­ager of China Rail­way Corp, be­lieves that “the launch of the new bul­let trains means China’s high-speed trains make a ma­jor leap for­ward in the coun­try’s push to be­come a global tech power.”

How Great Are the New Bul­let Trains?

First, the EMU trains re­ceived a speed-boost. The num­ber “400” in the of­fi­cial names of the two Fux­ing mod­els, CR400AF and CR400BF, in­di­cates that the trains typ­i­cally travel at speeds of around 350 kilo­me­ters per hour but can reach 400 kilo­me­ters per hour, an in­crease of 150 and 50 kilo­me­ters per hour com­pared to the CRH model.

Sec­ond, the EMU trains widely adopted Chi­nese stan­dards. They are built ac­cord­ing to a num­ber of tech­ni­cal stan­dards in­clud­ing uni­fied Chi­nese stan­dards, rail­way in­dus­try stan­dards and re­quire­ments of the China Rail­way Corp, with Chi­nese stan­dards cov­er­ing 84 per­cent of all re­quire­ments. In­de­pen­dent devel­op­ment of the new tech­nolo­gies in the trains, in­clud­ing over­all de­sign and ev­ery key com­po­nent, has left China in con­trol of the in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights. And ev­ery track leads to greater con­nec­tiv­ity.

Third, the new trains pro­vide bet­ter se­cu­rity. To guar­an­tee safety, the Fux­ing model brings its own “doc­tor” along on ev­ery trip. The new model has a pow­er­ful safety mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem with more than 2,500 sen­sors. The sen­sors mon­i­tor the state of the en­tire train, and if some­thing ever goes wrong, the mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem sounds an alarm and can even take au­to­matic mea­sures such as re­duc­ing speed or even stop­ping the train. An en­ergy ab­sorp­tion de­vice to di­min­ish col­li­sions is placed at the joint of the lo­co­mo­tive and car­riages of the train. The de­vice can pas­sively pro­tect the train com­pletely in the event of a low-speed collision.

The Fux­ing model also adopts a new stream­lined body de­sign with lower air re­sis­tance that re­duces power con­sump­tion. The height of the train was in­creased to give more room to pas­sen­gers and the air con­di­tion­ing sys­tem was en­hanced to adapt to var­i­ous ex­te­rior air pres­sure con­di­tions and re­duce ear dis­com­fort when trains pass through tun­nels or pass each other, mak­ing the trip more com­fort­able for pas­sen­gers.

Devel­op­ment of China’s High-speed Rails

Before China’s high-speed trains were launched, the speed of the Chi­nese rail­way sys­tem had in­creased five times. The launch of high-speed bul­let trains was con­sid­ered the sixth speed boost. He Huawu, chief en­gi­neer of the China Rail­way Sig­nal & Com-

mu­ni­ca­tion Corp, over­saw the sixth speed im­prove­ment. He or­ga­nized re­search to tackle key tech­no­log­i­cal prob­lems and op­ti­mize sys­tem in­te­gra­tion, which pro­vided strong tech­ni­cal sup­port for the con­struc­tion of the high-speed rail sys­tem. He wit­nessed the en­tire devel­op­ment process of Chi­nese high-speed trains.

Ac­cord­ing to He, the devel­op­ment of China’s high-speed trains roughly fell into three stages. The first stage be­gan in 2006, when for­eign tech­nolo­gies from Japan, France, Ger­many and other coun­tries were in­tro­duced to China, which were then ab­sorbed and ren­o­vated. In 2008, the first CRH train, which trav­eled at a speed of 350 kilo­me­ters per hour, took its first test run. The sec­ond stage started in 2009, when China de­signed and man­u­fac­tured the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion high-speed trains with in­de­pen­dent re­search and devel­op­ment. The new CRH model set a record of 486.1 kilo­me­ters per hour in a trial run along the Beijing-shang­hai line in 2010. The third stage is the launch of the EMU trains. In July 2017, two Chi­nese-de­signed bul­let trains passed in op­po­site direc­tions at a world-record speed of 420 kilo­me­ters per hour dur­ing a test run.

Ac­cord­ing to the Medium- and Long-term Rail­way Net­work Plan is­sued on July 22, 2016, China’s high-speed rail­way net­work will reach 38,000 kilo­me­ters by 2025, link­ing 240 medium-sized and large cities in the coun­try.

As The New York Times com­mented, “China’s am­bi­tious rail roll­out is help­ing in­te­grate the econ­omy of this sprawl­ing, pop­u­lous na­tion, and is bring­ing to China the very real eco­nomic ben­e­fits.”

by Ju Huan­zong/xin­hua

June 26, 2017: Fux­ing train G123 ready to de­part from Beijing South Rail­way Sta­tion. The model is one of the most cut­ting- edge bul­let trains in the world, and China holds its in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights.

June 26, 2017: A Fux­ing train sets off from Beijing South Rail­way Sta­tion, the north ter­mi­nal of the Beijing-shang­hai High-speed Rail­way.

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