China’s bullet trains expedited to world top speed
China on Thursday speeded up its new generation bullet train, the Fuxing, on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway, shortening travel time on the 1,250-kilometer route to just four hours and 30 minutes.
The Fuxing trains, which were entirely designed and manufactured in China, are capable of reaching a top speed of 400 km/h. They made their debut in June, and were tested for safety and reliability at max speed in July. According to Chinanews.com, the trains will make seven round-trips a day starting from Sept. 21, and will serve as the world’s fastest commercially-used bullet train.
China first ran trains at 350 km/h in August 2008, but reduced speeds to 250-300 km/h in 2011 following a train collision near the city of Wenzhou that killed 40 people and injured 191, Xinhua reported.
According to media reports, Shanghai’s railway authorities have already tested the trains’ safety at 350 km/h, completing the training of professional drivers, mechanicians, and service personnel. As of press time, 246 professionals have gained licenses for driving the bullet trains.
“The Fuxing trains are quite comfortable and neat. Most importantly, passengers have Wi-Fi access and can charge their electronic devices via traditional or USB sockets,” said Sun Chenghao, a scholar from the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.
China has the world’s longest high-speed rail network of over 22,000 kilometers, about 60 percent of the world’s total. Around one-third of China's high-speed railways were designed to allow trains to run at a speed of 350 km/h, according to He Huawu of the China Academy of Engineering.