China Reveals New Train Amid Rail Doubts

Amid concerns about the safety of the railway system due to the deadly Wenzhou crash in July, China has revealed a new high-speed bullet train that can reach speeds of 500km per hour. The Telegraph reports:

The new experimental train was unveiled in the eastern province of Shandong at the weekend by state-owned train maker CSR Corp, the China Daily newspaper said.

The train, whose sleek design was inspired by an ancient Chinese sword, was built using plastic reinforced with carbon fibre and magnesium alloy to reduce weight and therefore increase speed, the report said.

There was no indication of when the six-car train would be put into commercial use.

In order to deal with the safety concerns, the speeds of the running trains were cut. Although this new train has been revealed, there are few indications by the state media that there has been a test run. The Wall Street Journal adds:

Speed hasn’t appeared to be China’s current priority. One of the first acts by Sheng Guangzu, when he took over as head of the Ministry of Railways to replace an official ousted for corruption, was to cut top railway speeds to 300 kilometers per hour from 350 kilometers.

Following the Wenzhou crash, the slowdown order – welcomed by foreign experts – was reiterated and broadened under orders of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, effectively cutting all speeds by up to 50 kilometers per hour.

At a ceremony to celebrate the train’s debut, an engineer described it to invited media as a “higher-speed train experimental project” with no timetable for commercial service.  One media report said the train will be called the CTT500.

There is little suggestion in state media that the train has actually made a test run. Photos show the train in various places, though always stationary.

Read more about the Wenzhou train crash and high-speed rail in China, via CDT.

December 27, 2011 2:44 PM
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Categories: Sci-Tech, Society