China will manufacture and begin trial runs of a new “Chinese-standard” bullet train this year, according to the State-owned railway operator.
“We will accelerate the development” of the train, which is expected to have a maximum speed of 350 km/h, “and make sure the prototype will be made and put to trial operations this year, “Sheng Guangzu, general manager of China Railway Corp, said on Jan 29 in Beijing.
“At the same time, the development of the 250-km/h type will also be put on a fast track,” Sheng said at the company’s annual work conference, pledging to prioritize the promotion of Chinese technological standards for high-speed railways in the international market.
An engineer close to CRC who declined to be named said the China Academy of Railway Sciences is leading the development, while CSX Corp and CNR Corp, the country’s largest train makers, have been commissioned to make a 350-km/h model.
“Because the two train producers have announced a merger plan, whether they will still design their own train or integrate their plans to develop a single model remains unknown,” he said. “Nevertheless, China Railway Corp has emphasized that the design of the 350-km/h type should be finalized before the end of March, and the certification will be done before September.”
Currently, bullet trains running on the country’s high-speed rail network are generally designed and built in accordance with various foreign standards, a situation that forces the company to sustain a number of different support and maintenance systems for trains made with different specifications, keeping operating costs high, the engineer said.
The absence of a Chinese-standard bullet train has also generated obstacles for the nation’s efforts to export its rail technology and products, he said.
Zhao Jian, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University specializing in China’s railway system, said that while Chinese factories can produce almost all bullet train parts, the key technologies are still licensed from foreign railway giants.
China has spared no effort to make and promote its own standards in the high-speed railway sector in support of Premier Li Keqiang’s initiative to export Chinese high-speed railway equipment and know-how, Zhao said.
The National Railway Administration released China’s first design specification standards for high-speed rail in December. The standards govern nearly 20 fields involved in the design and construction of lines for trains running at speeds of 250-350km/h.