China increases top high speed rail speeds back to 350 kph and soon 400 kph

China authorizing the maximum speed of the Shanghai-Beijing high-speed rail line to increase to 350 kilometers per hour. China is upgrading its high speed rail trains to new trains with a 400 kph top speed. Hundreds of trains will be upgraded to the higher top speed and more lines will be permitted to run at the higher 350 kph speed and perhaps in two years or so the trains will be permitted to run at 400 kph.

Travelers will be able to zip between the two cities in just 4 hours aboard the G1. Currently, those bullet trains crawl across the country at max speeds of only 300 kilometers per hour, making the 1,318-kilometer trip in an excruciating 4 hours and 49 minutes.

When the 400 kph top speed is permitted then the travel time from Shanghai to Beijing will drop to 3.5 hours.

China is also working on new trains that could reach top speeds of 600 kph. This would enable travel times to drop to 2.3 hours (2 hours and 20 minutes) between Shanghai and Beijing. The higher speeds will cause more travelers to switch from airplanes to high speed rail on longer and longer routes.

High speed rail provides people with more space and comfort and generally lower ticket costs.

China cut the speed of Chinese high-speed trains after a July 2011 accident. The speed of the second-tier ‘D’ trains reduced from 250 to 200 km/h (155 to 124 mph). The speed of the remaining 350 km/h (220 mph) trains between Shanghai and Hangzhou was reduced to 300 km/h (186 mph) as of 28 August 2011.

Railway officials are currently hard at work testing and getting ready for the big speed boost which will include both China’s old-school Hexie trains, as well as its newly-developed Fuxing bullet trains, which have a top speed of 400 kilometers per hour.

New Fuxing trains last longer and consume 17% less energy than their outdated predecessors and have the 400 kph top speed. The new train is designed to be more user-friendly, with Wi-Fi and more power sockets.

Systems on the new EMU range, including traction, braking and local area networks are wholly owned by China, Zhao Hongwei, vice main engineer and researcher at the China Academy of Railway Sciences.

This solves the problem that internal layout and replacement parts on existing high-speed trains do not couple together, she said.

There are four types of in-service bullet trains in China, introduced from Japan, Germany, France and Canada, Zhao Ting, a professor at the Beijing Jiaotong University, told the Global Times.

“The China-designed trains will be reducing less system maintenance costs, since 84 percent of its products are of Chinese standards … and China will soon replace existing trains with the new ones within a couple of years,” Zhao Ting said.

According to the China Academy of Railway Sciences, the new model has a service life of over 30 years, compared with the existing ones that can operate for 20 years.

“The Fuxing trains are 4,050 millimeters high, compared with 3,700 millimeters of the Hexie. Thanks to new designs, the Fuxing’s wind resistance is 7.5 to 12.3 percent less than the previous generation, and noise in the carriage is noticeably reduced,” said Zhang Bo, a research fellow at the Locomotive and Car Research Institute under the China Academy of Railway Sciences.


Current high speed rail network, 4X4 grid complete

China has 22,000-kilometers of high-speed railway, representing 60 percent of the world’s total. The network set to reach 38,000 km (24,000 mi) in 2025.

China has completed the National 4+4 grid. They are now working on a larger 8+8 high speed rail grid serving the nation and expanded intercity lines for regional and commuter services for large metropolitan areas of China. The proposed completion date for the 8×8 network is 2030.


Future 8×8 high speed rail network grid, with expected 2030 completion

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