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China's CRRC prepares testing faster maglev trains

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

10-27-2016 16:52 BJT

By Tom McGregor, CNTV Commentator

CRRC (China Railway Rolling-stock Corporation) Ltd., the largest train equipment manufacturer in the world, has built massive rail networks, and continues to upgrade train technology setting for higher speeds, along with more safety and comfort for passengers.

The state-owned railway firm has launched commercialized trains for carrying passengers and freight. The company hopes to construct maglev train lines that could reach speeds at over 600 kilometers/hour (km/h), or 372.8 miles per hour (mph).

Maglev trains are built for speed, since the wheels that do not touch the tracks, as magnets and electric currents cause the train to levitate while in motion. Smooth gliding creates greater comfort for passengers as well.

Chinese railways technology are conducting extensive research on upgrading levitation and traction technologies to develop new Chinese homegrown maglev trains. They have received funding from CRRC.

Tracks for test-runs

China's leading cities - Beijing and Shanghai - stand 1,088km. apart, but they are connected by a bullet train that reaches speeds up to 350km/h, with a trip duration time lasting five hours. If a maglev train gets completed that could reduce travel time to two hours.

CRRC has outlined plans to construct a 5km-long maglev track for test-running new models of maglev trains. Currently, they operate maglevs that just run at a maximum speed of 200km/h on a track, which connects Shanghai’s Central Business District (CBD) and Pudong International Airport.

At the moment, Japanese train companies are leaders in the maglev technology field, but CRRC would like to catch up. The Chinese company constructed its first homegrown maglev line in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province, to transport passengers between its south railway station and the airport.

The planned track is expected to test different track gauges to ensure crossing borders would be more efficient, while supporting new technologies, which are energy conscious.

Opening up China Pan Asia Railways

China has already constructed more than 20,000km of high-speed networks globally, mainly in China, with new projects under construction in: Turkey, Thailand, Indonesia and Russia.

CRRC intends to complete tracks worldwide, 30,000km by 2020 and 45,000km by 2030. They are bidding for high-speed rails projects in the United Kingdom, Australia, Southeast Asia, Iran and Mexico.

The company had opened its regional headquarters in Southeast Asia, called China Pan Asia Railways, in Bandar, Malaysia, near Kuala Lumpur.

"If ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) can work together under China's New Silk Road policy and we can link up our rail and port infrastructure with China, there’s a lot of advantages," Malaysia's 2nd Minister for International Trade & Industry Ong Ka Chuan told ChinaNewsAsia.

CRRC opened its first ‘railways factory’ in Batuh Gajah, Malaysia in Aug. 2015.

Going underground, deeper and bigger

China has embarked on bold plans for its railways. CRRC is making them bigger, faster and safer, while developing more underground tracks and train stations.

Plans are underway for CRRC to build the world's largest and deepest railway station as contractors will dig underneath the famed Great Wall of China, Badaling section.

Chen Bin, director of construction project, said the underground station would be 335ft. below surface, covering an area the size of five soccer fields.

The site will link China's capital city with Zhangjiakou, a co-host for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics.

Excavators will utilize state-of-the-art equipment and explosives in order to avoid harming the Great Wall. Construction is not expected to interrupt the free flow of over ten million visitors, who come here annually.

Chinese developers have taken tremendous strides to build underground tunnels and stations in major cities nationwide.

Seeking safer and faster maglevs

China is building faster trains and perhaps a decade later, passengers could ride maglevs that can run at over 1,000km/h. Nevertheless, safety should take top priority.

Passengers love to ride fast trains, but they should not have to fear them. CRRC must conduct extensive testing on maglev trains, and ask, "how can we build safe and fast trains?"

Safety measures should come first. Fortunately, Beijing has already enforced rigorous standards to keep Chinese trains running safe, comfortable and at top speeds.


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