Urban Transport

Sword-inspired Chinese train hits 311 mph in testing

China's latest experimental train is 200 km/h than bullet trains running in the country now (Photo: CSR)
China's latest experimental train is 200 km/h than bullet trains running in the country now (Photo: CSR)
View 1 Image
China's latest experimental train is 200 km/h than bullet trains running in the country now (Photo: CSR)
1/1
China's latest experimental train is 200 km/h than bullet trains running in the country now (Photo: CSR)

China's state press agency, Xinhua, reports that the country's largest rail vehicle maker has debuted a six-car train more than twice as powerful and 200 km/h (124 mph) faster than the high-speed models currently in service between Beijing and Shanghai. The new electric test train can draw a maximum of 22,800 kilowatts and is reportedly capable of reaching speeds as high as 500 km/h (311 mph), making it one of the fastest trains ever designed for commercial passenger use.

China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corporation Limited (CSR) says the train is the newest in its CRH series and its aerodynamic shape is inspired by an ancient Chinese sword. It is constructed from plastic materials reinforced with carbon fiber, resulting in a lightweight, aerodynamic vehicle capable of higher speeds than the CRH380 train on which it is based.

The unveiling comes in the wake of recent concerns over rail safety in China. Two high-speed trains collided last July, killing 40 people and injuring almost 200. Acknowledging the heightened public anxiety caused by the accident, CSR's chairman told Chinese media that its new high-speed model might not ever run at top speed when put into service, emphasizing that the company will ensure safe operation over swiftness.

But such safety assurances come as China's government is pushing forward on a bold plan to build-out a national high-speed rail network with 10,000 miles (16,093 km) of track serving all major cities by the end of the decade.

An earlier iteration of the CRH series reached a top speed of 486 km/h (302 mph) in test runs. While the absolute rail speed record for an unconventional train of 581 km/h (361 mph) is held by a Japanese experimental magnetic levitation (MagLev) train, closely followed by a specially-tuned version of the French TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse), which was reduced to 3 cars and supplied with higher voltage to take the conventional train record of 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph), the new CRH model is likely to be one one of the fastest ever designed for regular commercial passenger use if and when it enters service.

China does have a passenger MagLev train in operation in Shanghai, but the cost of building out enough of the specialized track to meet China's ambitious high-speed rail goals would likely be prohibitive, making faster wheeled trains like the CRH series more attractive.

Watch the video below of the train's reveal and let us know if you're impressed.

Source: China Daily

23 comments
Gadgeteer
China builds a huge high-speed rail network. Meanwhile, the US is a laughingstock when it comes to rail, relying mostly on antiquated trains that can\'t even approach 100mph. What\'s wrong with this picture?
Holly McBeal
Why should we? Where\'s the market? Other than political payoffs, what\'s the cost/benefit ratio of this or any other rail project? The Anglo/French SST Concorde never came close to paying for itself. It was strictly a national pride transport. Even now with well established European system of passenger rail, taxes pay the way. According to CNN Money, Germany alone required $11.6Bn Annually in tax subsidies for the period 1996-2006. This makes it a public service at the tax payer\'s expense. OTOH, I can drive my car anywhere I want to at my expense and schedule. And yes, I pay for the roads too -- that\'s a public service provided by the government via taxes on the road users, not just the general public.
Kumi Alexander
@Holly McBeal ... Germany\'s annual tax subsidy for the road systems is about $28B US Dollars. Far more than the rail system. Still, talking about the cost of building and maintaining infrastructure meaningless when the cost of fuel, whether you pay it in taxes or at the pump, is vastly greater. In our case, the problem is much worse because of how many tax dollars get spent on subsidizing oil and gas production. Per passenger-mile, cars burn vastly more fuel than trains which means that the tax cost of gasoline subsides for car driving is vastly greater as well. The cost of building and maintaining rail infrastructure is a drop in the bucket compared to the total cost (tax/retail-at-pump) cost of fuel.
Holly McBeal
@Mark Cleaner -- Subsidies are the government paying someone with tax monies to produce a product. Roads built and maintained with taxes collected for that purpose are not subsidies, they\'re user fees. When the government tries to encourage specific economic activity by reducing the tax rate for that activity, that is not a subsidy. The government is not purchasing that product. Oil (or any other) companies pay their share of corporate taxes according the latest whims of the latest tax code as passed by Congress. All taxes are regressive, so saying someone is being favored because they\'re less heavily taxed is a problem with the rule makers, not those favored. If the only concern is fuel efficiency per passenger or ton-mlle, then we need a national canal system hauling people about with all the fuel savings associated with water transport. If you are concerned about the costs of personal liberty to travel when, where and how you want, it comes back to the cost/benefit ratio of building and using a high speed rail system. So -- who are the customers?
Raymond Larrett
@Holly McBeal - I\'m glad your views didn\'t hold sway back when the first American Transcontinental railroad (which was authorized by Congress and heavily supported by government bonds and land grants) was built. Or for that matter the Interstate Highway System, which began planning in the \'30s. I mean, where were the customers? They came once there were roads to ride on (which is why auto makers pushed for them.) Back then it was understood that one had to invest in infrastructure to build and sustain a great country. China grasps this, but sadly America is no longer capable of long-range thinking.
Ethan Brush
@holly mcbeal, would you rather drive on the autobahn than the slower American interstate system? If so, why not ride on a train that goes 300 mph rather than a standard train that goes 60? That\'s a five to one ratio. That\'s a horse\'s 15 mph compared to a car\'s 75mph. I would say it it well worth it, not even considering china is even bigger than the US in city size, distance between cities, and city population. Its good to get them out of their gas guzzlers and into a train powered by the big hydroelectric dam. I\'m not even going to touch that comment about canals. There is no way in heck that a boat with all of it\'s contact with the water is more efficient than a train contacting a few inches of a greased-up steel track. Saying that digging canals everywhere, large enough for barges, is cheaper than laying steel tracks is just plain silly. Darn it, I touched it.
Slowburn
The whole question of efficiency is moot. Americans don\'t want to travel by rail even if it is high speed rail.
PrometheusGoneWild.com
Some good arguments here. I am not against trains, I am against HOW our US government subsidies them. Roads are subsidized. The Fed and state spend money for construction companies to build and maintain them. It is a \"lowest bidder process\" overseen by the state and fed departments of transportation. Everyone is allowed to use the road for commerce and personal business. Trains are subsidized. Do they give money for tracks and stations to be built and maintained and have the commerce on those tracks be open to competition? No. They write a very large check to Amtrak every year. And it is treated like a budget. And Amtrak always fights for more money. And when the unions demand more money, they give it to them. Amtrak has no incentive to keep cost down. Or provide better service. Or investigate technology that may cheapen its operation. They are waiting on the check. With GPS and computers, there should be no reason a company should not be able to come in and start running lines more efficiently than Amtrak. But that is not the way the game is set up...... As for high speed rail, I have heard they are trying in California, but people complained (noise) so they have backed off on it and are putting the money to use out in the middle of nowhere.... Our tax dollars at work....
PrometheusGoneWild.com
This is interesting. I know the Acela is the only \"high speed\" rail in the US at this point. What I did not know is that it operates AT A PROFIT. Which for a government sponsored program astounds me..... Take a look: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acela_Express
Mr Stiffy
Derailing at 500+ Kmh............ Ooooooooooooooooo that is gunna hurt.
Thanks for reading our articles. Please consider subscribing to New Atlas Plus.
By doing so you will be supporting independent journalism, plus you will get the benefits of a faster, ad-free experience.