China working on 450 km/h bullet train

China is developing a faster bullet train, which will be known as the CR450, according to Zhao Hongwei, Chief Researcher of the China Academy of Railway Sciences and a Member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). The more advanced model, which has a top operating speed of 400 kilometers per hour and the potential to reach speeds of up to 450 km/h, will soon be unveiled. Zhao also said that by the time the CR450 is in operation, the national railway network will have been extended to 165,000 km, 50,000 km of which will be high-speed lines. Plans to develop the faster bullet train were outlined in the 14th Five Year Plan (2021-25), she added. In January last year, technical specifications for the CR450 EMU were released by the China State Railway Group. “By the end of last year, we drew up technical specifications for 13 of the EMU’s subsystems, and also carried out early experiments,” Zhao said. “The general design and schemes for the subsystems are expected to be finalized next year, and the train will be completed in the near future,” she added.

Zhao oversaw the development of China’s first self-designed bullet train, known as the Fuxing or Rejuvenation. The difficulties researchers are facing now are not the same as the ones they faced while developing the first generation of Fuxing trains. “We have no reference from other countries to work from,” she said. “We have to be pioneers and find the solutions needed to build a train capable of a speed of 400 km/h.” The noise level at that speed is capped at 3 decibels higher than the level on a train traveling at 350 km/ h, which is as fast as current high-speed trains can run in China. “We have to lower the noise level on the new trains to ensure passengers are comfortable. It is challenging work,” Zhao said.

The country’s railway system, particularly its high-speed railway network, has developed rapidly over the past 15 years. By the end of last year, the network covered 155,000 km, of which 42,000 km were high-speed lines, accounting for more than two-thirds of the world’s high-speed lines. By the end of 2025, 99.5% of cities with more than 200,000 residents will have access to the general railway network, and 98% of cities with more than 500,000 residents will have access to the high speed railway network. Last month, a railway science and technology innovation alliance was set up in Beijing to conduct research on key technology, promote the industrial application of railway innovations and enhance technological communication and training. The alliance hopes to make breakthroughs in key technologies.

The cross-border freight train linking China and Europe connects 108 Chinese cities and 208 cities in 25 European countries. Since its opening in 2011, the service has run 65,000 China-Europe services and transported 6.04 million containers, the China Daily reports.