China has tested its latest in high speed rail. A train made of plastic materials and carbon fiber rocketed down the tracks at a Chinese record setting 311 mph (500 kilometers per hour). If put into use, this will be the fastest, conventional-wheeled train, exceeded in speed only by Japanese MAGLEV trains.
According to officials, the new train boasts a number of new technologies and materials, including carbon fiber and magnesium alloys. Sound insulation was a major issue, and one that was eventually resolved. The train is designed to look like an ancient Chinese sword and is made by Sifang Locomotive, a subsidiary of CSR Corp Ltd.
The six carriage train sports a tapered head, and boasts of a maximum drawing power of 22,800 kilowatts — compared to the current CRH380 trains that have 9,600 kilowatts of drawing power.
With the help of government funds since 2006, China is home to the largest high speed rail network in the world. The goal for China is to have 16,000 kilometers of dedicated high-speed rail lines connecting all of China’s major cities by 2020.
With such large projects there is always bound to be problems and China’s rail system has certainly had its share in recent months. Corruption, safety issues, and fare issues have all been problematic but these problems are not slowing China down.
The test run of the new train was successful but that does not mean that when and if the new train is put into service the train will move at its full speed. China has slowed all of its high speed trains down after a collision in July.
The train “will provide useful reference for current high-speed railway operations,” quoted train expert Shen Zhiyun.
With the new train and nationwide record secured, China continues to be the world’s leader in high speed rail.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison