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Landmark electric train rolls off assembly line

Lan Lan
Updated: Jul 9,2015 9:23 AM     China Daily

The first electric multiple unit train produced for Macedonia by a subsidiary of the China Railway Rolling Stock Corp sports the colors of the Balkan country’s flag as it awaits delivery.[Photo/ China Daily]

The first of six passenger trains ordered by Macedonia has been completed at a plant operated by a subsidiary of China Railway Rolling Stock Corp at Zhuzhou, Hunan province.

It is set to become the first electric multiple unit train to be exported from China to Europe and will help the Balkan country to modernize its antiquated rolling stock.

The train, painted red and yellow after Macedonia’s national flag, was manufactured by Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive.

“China has exported electric locomotives, subway trains and light rail trains to Europe before,” said CRRC vice-president Lou Qiliang. “The electric multiple unit train is more complicated in terms of development and manufacture.

It is the first time a Chinese electric multiple unit train has met technical specifications adopted by the European Commission to ensure the interoperability-or technical compatibility-of rolling stock, infrastructure, signaling systems and other elements of the trans-European rail network.

Macedonia specified that the trains should be able to travel at 140 kilometers per hour, but they are able to reach 160 km/h, leaving a margin for safety and scope for future speed hikes, said Chen Xihong, deputy chief engineer of Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive. He said the first train will be delivered soon.

The trains will run on the 215-kilometer railway that links Tabanovce in northern Macedonia with Gevgelija at the country’s southern border with Greece. The track passes the capital, Skopje.

The hinged wheel chassis and low-floor design are well suited for winding routes and meet the needs of many existing railways worldwide, Chen said.

Vlado Misajlovski, Macedonia’s minister of transport and communications, said the completion of the train was a significant moment in the relationship between his country and China and for China-Europe rail transportation.

CRRC, formed by last month’s merger of CNR Corp and CSR Corp, is the world’s largest rail conglomerate in terms of market value and sales. Its products include high-speed trains that run at up to 380 km/h and subway trains, trams and locomotives.

On Wednesday, CRRC delivered three internal-combustion unit trains to Argentina, the first of 27 trains purchased by the South American country. The locomotive producer also has a 4.12 billion yuan ($664 million) contract to supply metro cars to Boston’s subway system.

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