China unveils world’s fastest high-speed train

This article is over 6 months old Railway architects say test runs over the country’s 2,000-mile length could be completed as early as 2020 China has unveiled a railway with a top speed of…

China unveils world's fastest high-speed train

This article is over 6 months old

Railway architects say test runs over the country’s 2,000-mile length could be completed as early as 2020

China has unveiled a railway with a top speed of 620km (390 miles) per hour – a speed capable of covering about 2,000 miles in about an hour.

The 260-metre-long Xinghai high-speed train developed by China’s state-owned railway agency set a world record, accelerating to 668km an hour (399 miles an hour) during tests conducted along a single track at Wangzhou railway station, near the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

If a pilot project approved by the railway ministry is approved and moves ahead with launch, the speed could be achieved in China’s main southern routes.

A prototype of the train could be tested at speeds of 550km an hour by the end of this year, said railway officials.

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China’s rail network was previously thought to have the world’s fastest train by Chiyoda Corp – but Hong Kong-based transport analyst Alex Pang said “difficulties” stopped the company from achieving the top speed of 800km an hour after the testing was only possible on a 1,800-kilometre section of track.

It is not clear whether higher speeds would be possible with two tracks running on the same track.

The new trains are designed to accommodate about 300 passengers who stand in the front carriages.

Xinghai, which means Moon Window, has a top speed of 310km an hour for passenger and freight trains. China plans to extend that to 385km an hour by 2020.

China’s high-speed railway network was extended to more than 11,600km in 2017 and expects it to be able to cover 26,800km this year, according to the Ministry of Railways.

As part of China’s industrial policy, the Ministry of Railways also plans to construct five to seven new high-speed rail networks this year to connect cities such as Ningxia in western China to the capital Beijing.

At the same time, China’s domestic network is expanding, adding more routes to cater to the increasing number of passengers on the country’s largest mass transit system.

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China has also been promoting rail as a viable way to reduce emissions, which are a key concern for policymakers.

Since the financial crisis, investment in high-speed rail has been transformed into a symbol of China’s construction boom, and analysts consider it a key means to combat climate change.

In April, the government said China had built 3,239km of high-speed railway since 2000 and said it was planning to install 11,470km of track by 2030 to carry a total of five billion passengers a year.

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