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CRRC-built prototype of maglev train, source: CRRC

China develops prototype of new ultra-high-speed train

CRRC Qingdao Sifang, a part of CRRC Corporation, has unveiled a prototype of a new maglev high-speed train. The vehicle is able to speed up to 600 kilometres per hour. The manufacturer plans to start mass production of the train in 2021 after a series of trials.

CRRC Qingdao Sifang launched the project in July 2016 in cooperation with more than 30 companies and research organisations. The manufacturer is constructing an experimental centre to test the vehicle. It is scheduled to be opened in the second half of the year. The publicly unveiled prototype has only one car. But the real train will consist of five wagons.

High-speed trains in China

The prototype is considered to be the fastest high-speed train in China. Currently, the Chinese regular high-speed vehicles run at a maximum speed of 350 kilometres per hour. The country also has a night sleeping high-speed trains that ride at a speed of 250 kilometres per hour.

The speed records of 501 and 487.3 kilometres per hour were set on the Chinese railway network in 2003 and 2010. The first figure was reached by a three-car maglev train on the Shanghai Maglev Train line. The average speed on this line is around 300 kilometres per hour. The second was set by a 16-car conventional wheeled train of type CRH380BL.

World railway speed records

Currently, the world railway speed record is 603 kilometres per hour. The figure was reached by L0 Series maglev train prototype on the Yamanashi Test Track in Japan in 2015. The maximum speed set by conventional wheeled trains is 574.8 kilometres per hour. This record was done on the LGV Est line between Paris and Strasbourg.

The fastest regular wheeled high-speed trains run in China at a speed of 350 kilometres per hour. Japan operates maglev vehicles at a speed of 320 kilometres per hour. In Europe, the fastest regular wheeled high-speed trains run in France (320 kilometres per hour) and Spain (310 kilometres per hour). Several other European countries like Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium operate this type of rolling stock at a speed of 250-300 kilometres per hour.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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