A trial run of China’s new high-speed bullet train, which uses a cutting-edge traction system, will start soon, according to the head of the high-speed railway innovation program.
The permanent magnet synchronous traction system was developed by CSR Corp Ltd, one of the country’s two major locomotive makers, at its Zhuzhou Institute in Hunan province. It has passed preliminary examination by national railway test authorities and has been installed on a new bullet train produced by CSR Qingdao Sifang Co Ltd in Shandong province, said Jia Limin, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University who heads China’s high-speed railway innovation program.
“If everything goes well, we will begin a trial run in a short time and then improve the equipment based on the tests,” he said. “I think the new train will become fully operational by 2018.”
Compared with the alternating current asynchronous motors that are commonly used for a bullet train’s traction system, the permanent magnet synchronous traction boasts high power, a simple configuration and low fuel consumption, Jia said.
He added: “The new system has fewer parts than the current traction apparatus, so it is more reliable and efficient. Other advantages include occupying a smaller space on the train and producing less noise during operation.”
Xu Junfeng, who oversaw the traction system’s development, said: “Currently, six out of eight cars of a bullet train need to have engines. Using the new traction system will allow only four cars to be fitted with engines, which will substantially reduce costs and maintenance procedures.”
The CSR Zhuzhou Institute launched the project in 2011 and has been in charge of all core technologies for permanent magnet traction, which will be the mainstream of traction devices for next-generation bullet trains, Xu said.
Nations with strong technological capability in high-speed railways, such as Germany and Japan, began researching permanent magnet synchronous traction about eight years ago. China is still at the initial stage but has made big strides, Jia said.
Earlier reports said a subway train in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, was fitted with the permanent magnet synchronous traction system to test its reliability.
China has been striving to develop and manufacture all major components used on its high-speed bullet trains.
Sheng Guangzu, the general manager of China Railway Corp, has pledged to speed up the development of key technologies used in high-speed trains and to design a new bullet train with “Chinese standards”.
“In the high-speed train field, we must accelerate the research of crucial technologies. We will strive to complete the design of the Chinese-standard bullet train and its major components by the end of the year,” Sheng said in January.
Most of the advanced components used on China’s bullet trains, such as traction, brake and control software, are provided by foreign companies including Alstom, Siemens and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, according to sources close to China Railway Corp.