China is developing a next-generation bullet train that can run at 400 kilometers an hour and is suitable for cross-border services, a senior researcher with the nation’s high-speed rail program said on Sunday.
It will have wheels that can be adjusted to fit various gauges on other countries’ tracks, compared with trains now that need to have their wheels changed before entering foreign systems,” said Jia Limin, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University and head of China’s high-speed rail innovation program.
While China, Iran and Turkey use 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge tracks, Russia’s tracks are currently gauged at 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in), India’s and Pakistan’s tracks are 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) gauge, the tracks covering an area from Bangladesh east to Vietnam and south to the tip of the Malay Peninsula are 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) gauge with some dual gauge track near the China-Vietnam border and within Bangladesh, and tracks in Indonesia and Japan are 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge. This leads to time consuming interchanges to handle the break of gauge at main connecting points in the network. The new and existing track from Akhaura near India-Bangladesh border to India-Myanmar border is being converted to 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) under Project Unigauge of Indian railways.
“Once the new bullet train is put into service, it will operate on China’s rail network as well as on the Moscow-Kazan high-speed line in Russia, which is designed for 400 km per hour trains,” he added, referring to the 770-km link that connects Moscow and Kazan, a metropolis on the Volga River. The rail line is a joint venture between China and Russia.
Currently, high-speed trains in China run at speeds ranging from 250 to 300 km per hour, although their maximum speed can reach about 350 km per hour.
With the aim of exploring new concepts, Jia said China has developed and begun to test an ultrafast bullet train that is potentially able to travel at 600 km per hour. The train has been made by CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co, a subsidiary of the country’s largest train maker, China Railway Rolling Stock Corp, in Shandong province.
The ultrafast train is being used to trial cutting-edge technologies, advanced materials and to test operational limits, the professor said, adding that its development means China is now able to design and manufacture trains that can travel at least 500 km per hour.
Russia is increasing the number of the high-speed railway projects to be built on its territory with the participation of China.
Among a number of recently signed projects is the construction of an ambitious high-speed rail link from Moscow to Beijing that would cut the journey from six days on the Trans-Siberian Railway to just two.
The project would cost more than $230 billion, run over 7,000 kilometers (4,350 miles) in length and take in Kazakhstan along the route.
One project is a high speed rail between the two largest cities in Russia’s Urals, Chelyabinsk and Ekaterinburg. This section will form part of the high speed network connecting Moscow and Beijing.
Another section is the Samara-Togliatti railroad in Southeastern Russia to be constructed by the China Railway Corporation.
A high speed rail line will also link Russia’s Far East to China. The 250 kmh link could cut the current five-hour car journey to just an hour or so by train, and help drive new business and tourism between the two countries.
There is video of a european system for variable gauge rail.
SOURCES – China.org.cn, Sputnick News, Youtube
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