From pursuer to favorite: How does the Chinese high-speed train fare?

China has experienced a boom in high speed railways over the past decade. Independent development was the key to getting rid of dependence on foreign technology, paving the way for its exit strategy.

The milestone

A speed of 486.1 kilometers per hour. It can be a leisurely cruise jet or one of China’s high-speed trains.

“Built by our company, the CRH380A set a world record on December 3, 2010, during a test on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway,” said Wu Donghua, deputy chief engineer of the China company. Railway Rolling Stock Corporation Sifang. CGTN in an exclusive interview.

As one of the engineers on site, Wu said he was both happy and relieved to see the success. But when the development of Chinese high-speed trains began, it was a whole different story.

The difficulty

“Adaptability was an issue when we imported advanced technologies from other countries in 2004,” noted the engineer.

For example, foreign currents and Chinese railways were not suited, engineers had to adapt, trying to use their own technologies to correct the differences, while for Wu it was a force that accelerated technological change.

“We were on our own because there were a lot of technical issues to deal with with the imported technology,” Wu said, confirming the sacrifices hundreds of thousands of engineers have made in great efforts.

“For me, I couldn’t go home to spend the Spring Festival vacation with my family since 2008,” the engineer said, as he needed to travel to different cities providing technical support for six consecutive years. .

It was also the time when the Chinese high-speed railroad entered a period of development in which new crews, new trains and new sections of railroad emerged.


In 2008, China rolled out its first high-speed railroad at a speed of 350 kilometers per hour. Six years later, Wu was invited to participate in the development of technical specifications for the EMU standard train in China, also known as the Fuxing high-speed train.

“The EU’s technical specifications for interoperability, or TSIs, have unified power supply standards and a signaling system between different trains. But China has gone further,” Wu continued, adding that engine manufacturers Chinese from different companies could share the same driving system in addition to the baselines referred to in the EU TSI. “It is with Chinese characteristics.”

From importation to the development of technology in the country, and from global innovation to sustainable innovation, a dozen years later, Wu said that China’s high-speed railways had made a leap of growth, moving from pursuer to leader.

Innovation in the service of the Chinese high-speed railway

Commissioned in 2017, the Fuxing high-speed train is completely designed and manufactured in China. While people continue to demand speed, engineers are already considering the next big thing.

“We will intensify our efforts to build high-speed trains with a speed of 400 km / h and high-speed maglevs of 600 km / h,” Wu told CGTN of the relationship between the two.

“The high-speed maglev and the high-speed train complement each other,” Wu detailed. “The high-speed train can reach top speeds of 350 km / h, and high-speed maglev trains can reach 550-600 km / h. “

The engineer said that the faster speeds of the high-speed maglev train are somewhere between the conventional high-speed train and the aircraft, which can reach speeds of 800 to 1,000 km / h, than all three should play their part in building a high speed transport network in the future.

When asked about the next step regarding high-speed maglev trains, Wu said he hoped to have a high-speed test line for maglev trains that could support speed tests.

“It is estimated that it will be finished within a year and a half, or between 12 and 18 months,” Wu added, eager to see China’s achievements in this area.

By the end of 2020, Chinese railways reached over 140,000 kilometers, including 38,000 kilometers of high-speed rail. Statistics from the International Union of Railways show that China’s closed-loop high-speed rail safety system is also the safest in the world.

About Jun Quentin

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