China tests 500 kilometers per hour train

Dec 27, 2011 by Nancy Owano report

(PhysOrg.com) -- China tested a 500 kilometers per hour (311 mph) train over the weekend. Government officials call the record-breaking speedster a “useful reference” for China’s current high speed railway operations. The test train’s speed, according to a Monday report in China Daily, exceeds the world speed record of 300 kilometers per hour held by the Beijing Shanghai High Speed Railway. China’s latest high-speed train has a maximum tractive power of 22,800 kilowatts, compared with the 9,600 kilowatts for China Railways High-Speed (CRH) trains in service on the Beijing-Shanghai High Speed line.

The train tested over the weekend is made of plastic materials reinforced with carbon fiber.The design concept is inspired by ’s ancient swords.

The train’s designer and manufacturer is Sifang Locomotive, a subsidiary of China’s largest rail-vehicle maker, CSR Corp Ltd., based in Qingdao in eastern Shandong province.

Last year, Technology Review carried details of the WuGuang line trains, variants of Japan's Shinkansen and Germany's InterCity Express high-speed trains. That line clocked impressive speeds. A rail expert at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark at the time noted that high-speed rail technology implemented in China was not entirely different from the world's TGV, ICE, and Shinkansen systems. What was notable about China’s high-speed lines was that the system was designed from the ground up for very high-speed operation over hundreds of kilometers.

China has the largest network of bullet-train track in the world. The push for a massive buildout began in 2006 and continues, with the help of government stimulus funds. Miles of line are planned to the tune of billions to accommodate a future vision of over 16,000 kilometers of dedicated high-speed rail lines connecting all of China's major cities by 2020.

China’s engineering triumphs, however, have been hindered by troubles, highly publicized in the world press. The Chinese Railways Ministry Chief, Liu Zhijun, in charge of the construction of the high-speed railway massive network, was arrested for corruption. Then came reports that corruption had sacrificed safety concerns in a haste to roll out the high-speed rails. There were stories of substandard materials used to cut costs. The New York Times reported that the concrete bases for the tracks were made with insufficient hardening agents. The tracks could possibly warp, according to the report.

Safety concerns, however, seem to be top of mind in the government after the July incident where 40 people died when two bullet trains crashed into each other in Zhejiang province.

Officials felt it necessary to lower operating speeds on its bullet trains whereas trains with top speeds of 350 kh would be lowered to 300 kilometers peer hour, and trains designed for 250 would instead run at 200 kilometers per hour.

Similarly, Chinese officials in the latest announcement are careful to point out that future Chinese trains will not necessarily run at such high speeds as that demonstrated in the newly tested superfast train. The CSR chair Zhao Xiaogang told the Beijing Morning News that "We aim to ensure the safety of train operations.”

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User comments : 44

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Bob_Kob
4.4 / 5 (7) Dec 27, 2011
I'd hate to see what happens when someone throws themselves infront of a train going 500 km/h....
Callippo
3.3 / 5 (7) Dec 27, 2011
It would draw a CocaCola logo over the whole train
finitesolutions
1.6 / 5 (8) Dec 27, 2011
Nice achievement.
If they can build a glass tube around the track and vacuum it they can achieve 1000 km/h speeds with ease.
That will be something.
CHollman82
3.2 / 5 (9) Dec 27, 2011
Serious question though, how do they ensure no debris is on the track? At those speeds just about anything on the track would cause a disaster.
CHollman82
2.3 / 5 (6) Dec 27, 2011
Nice achievement.
If they can build a glass tube around the track and vacuum it they can achieve 1000 km/h speeds with ease.
That will be something.


I assume the passenger compartment would have normal atmospheric pressure... how would you design such a thing to withstand the pressure differential and still be light enough to be accelerated to that speed economically? Also, maintaining the vacuum during loading and unloading of passengers at the station seems like it would be tricky, though I guess we do it on the space station... ?
finitesolutions
2.3 / 5 (4) Dec 27, 2011
Only specific long stretches of the track between cities would be vacuumed. The vacuum can be less than 100% and still drastically eliminating drag.
Some airlocks need to be installed too.
If you layover 2 sheets or more of airplane window material they can withstand quite some pressure.
Garfieldo
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 27, 2011
The real world record is currently held by the french bullet train(TGV)...575km/h on rail (not magnetic levitation).
http://www.dailym...m-h_tech
commercial trains now travel at 315km/h.
Wicked
1 / 5 (1) Dec 27, 2011
Only specific long stretches of the track between cities would be vacuumed. The vacuum can be less than 100% and still drastically eliminating drag.
Some airlocks need to be installed too.
If you layover 2 sheets or more of airplane window material they can withstand quite some pressure.
Seems to me that only having part of the track sealed would be harder than having the whole track sealed. Especially with trains going in and out of the sealed environment at a significant fraction of the speed of sound.
jkbgbr
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 27, 2011
Such trains always travel on closed, in some cases dedicated tracks (i.e. in France TGV has these, in Germany ICE doesn't), therefore people and debris hardly get on the track.
As for the speed record of TGV, it was achieved using cranked-up voltage, for test purposes only.
tadchem
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 27, 2011
A 500 kph train a 200 kph track = disaster.
I see iron rails and a gravel roadbed, which has speed limits of its own. Vibration causes the gravel to settle, leading the rails to warp and the track to buckle.
James_Kent
2.4 / 5 (14) Dec 27, 2011
Here is a physics/scientific observation.

The faster these trains get the more they resemble jet aircraft; more aluminium , more aerodynamics, more turbine engines etc.

Give the trainaholics another few decades and they will research (at huge expense to the taxpayer, with huge govt subsidised programs)a train that goes over 700 kilometers an hour and doesn't even touch the track.

Oh Wait ! we already have that, for over 50 years too. It is called a stratospheric turbojet passenger airline.

When you figure in the huge capital, social and maintenance cost of railways, bridges, rights of way, derailments, accidents, pollution, adjacent property devaluation, slow travel; the cost of passenger railways is multiples of what passenger air transport is. Also not so easy to build one across an ocean or delicate tundra.

Trains hold a great fascination for centralized governments. Mussolini "made the trains run on time". Plus you keep the people captive to govt franchised transport
komgid719
1 / 5 (6) Dec 27, 2011
it very rapid train this web have many benefit.i will introduce my web maybe benefit for other person
PaulRC
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 27, 2011
you wouldn't need a vacuum, or airlocks. just have fans at the destination pulling air out of the tube, and fans at the departure station pushing air into the tube. move the air at a speed close/equal to that of the train, and you remove the resistance, as the train isn't pushing through it, but moving with it. and since the train's body will fill most of the tube, you can make a pressure differential with higher pressure behind the train and lower pressure in front of it, thereby increasing the speed of the train even more by generating thrust. of course, this is probably all way to expensive to be practical, but must more practical that a system with vacuum and airlocks. and probably a lot faster as well.

trains carry a lot more tonnage than planes mr. kent. and you don't get groped as much ;-)
Tom327Cat
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 27, 2011
What record was broken here? "Fastest Chinese train"? That would seem more like a headline enhancement than an actual record.The equivalence of extolling a record breaking New york subway run. The fact that China can reproduce a 500kph train, like other countries have done, does not seem like enough of an event to warrant the fanfare of a broken record.
plasticpower
1 / 5 (4) Dec 27, 2011
An airplane will never haul as much cargo as a freight train. But that's beside the point, I guess. These high-speed trains are probably as useful as airplanes indeed.
ccr5Delta32
1.9 / 5 (9) Dec 27, 2011
" The faster these trains get the more they resemble jet aircraft "
The rest is a political opinion and a very shallow one at that . Mussolini !! Those dirty freemarket commies utilizing public utilities
Infrastructure breeds commerce and subsequent tax revenue that otherwise would not be there .Is this fact beyond the range of simple minded libertarians ?
_etabeta_
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 27, 2011
"exceeds the world speed record of 300 kilometers per hour held by the Beijing Shanghai High Speed Railway"

"Officials felt it necessary to lower operating speeds on its bullet trains whereas trains with top speeds of 350 kh would be lowered to 300 kilometers peer hour, and trains designed for 250 would instead run at 200 kilometers per hour."

Sort of inconsistent reporting; I frequently use high-speed trains in Italy that reach 310km/h during normal operation, so where is the record?

Also, in the photo there are no overhead lines; how is this powered?
Jim_Clark
2.3 / 5 (4) Dec 27, 2011
An airport with an extension of subway is the best of both worlds. Much faster city-to-city plus city center arrival plus none of the insanity of 200 mph trainwrecks.

This hybrid arrangement is what large European cities have as well as many US cities. Many us cities building it, such as the DC to Dulles subway spur.

This story is political not science and technology. Brought to you by the folks who want to build subways for North Dakota farmers.
Charlie_VanDale
2.4 / 5 (5) Dec 27, 2011
As many of the posters point out, This is not a new technical achievement. So what is it then??

This is a political fluff piece on the wonders of china and big government spending on a technology which has been superceded.

I urge physorg to not let itself be victimized by chinese government publicists.
Sonhouse
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 27, 2011
Nice achievement.
If they can build a glass tube around the track and vacuum it they can achieve 1000 km/h speeds with ease.
That will be something.


If they could put that vacuum tube at an angle underground in a parabolic curve, you could run the train with no energy, using gravity to accelerate and decelerate it. If you could go straight down completely through the Earth, you could get free travel across the globe. Of course, good luck digging that 12000 kilometer tunnel straight through the Earth, minor detail.
kochevnik
2.5 / 5 (8) Dec 27, 2011
@James_Kent Trains hold a great fascination for centralized governments. Mussolini "made the trains run on time". Plus you keep the people captive to govt franchised transport
You're retarded. Here the Moscow Metro has 185 stations which takes you anywhere in Moscow in 40 minutes for 28 roubles (one of your bucks). Conversely the city "free enterprise" roadway is jammed and can take three hours for the same trip. We move 10million people every day without incident, apart from Chechen suicide bombers. In Los Angeles your public transport and freeways can't move 3million without coming to a standstill. Public transport in LA is six times more expensive and six times slower, and is solely used by the lowest classes.
georgert
2 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2011
What's that in the rear view mirror? It looks like, ummm, like the technological superiority of the United States, but it's receding so fast it's kind of hard to tell.
James_Kent
1.8 / 5 (6) Dec 28, 2011
Hey Kochevnik !

Wake up, the article is about high speed intercity transport which Kent said was best done by existing aircraft technology. Very Simple.

When people live in a concrete anthill, they should have a subway AND a car for when they want to go visit their dacha.

Since the subways are so grand in Moscow, why is it then that people want to use their cars so much that the roads are crowded? Once the people are free to choose, for some reason they want anything but public transportation, public housing, public medicine etc.

The future for Russia is the America of the past. Enjoy the transition.
ccr5Delta32
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2011
" The future for Russia is the America of the past. Enjoy the transition." Finally you speak your mind .So what's the future of the good owl US of A ? I suppose immense prosperity for a few and the rest can indulge in cannibalism for what you care .
How did you come to this point ,politically ? . Are you Tea Party brainwashed ? Can't you see , government spending on airports and infrastructure in general can indeed generate a return many times over .That's why we have them .We can agree that over cumbersome inefficient government is undesirable in any spectrum but to label anything governmental as akin to a commie plot is bordering on the pathetic
kochevnik
1.6 / 5 (5) Dec 28, 2011
The future for Russia is the America of the past. Enjoy the transition.
Funny you say that while Americans beat a path to our door demanding state-of-the-art glass offices in a country that comprises 1/3 of Earth's land, bordering another up-and-coming superpower that makes all your goods. But if dying of skin cancer after parking on the Hollywood Freeway for five hours daily@$8000/yr. to find you're been fired is America of the future, I'll take the Russia of present. Did you know it's a great place to meet people? Interesting people with lives, who keep their steel cages in the garage for trips to the dacha? Thanks.
ccr5Delta32
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2011
It seems Mr Charlie_VanDale ,Jim_Clark ,Jj_Jones and James_Kent have all down rated my comments and have all signed up on this day 27 th . Coincidence ? This is Physorg ,we're not too keen on coincidences here
Did I say bordering on pathetic earlier ? I may have to revise it
Vendicar_Decarian
0.2 / 5 (38) Dec 29, 2011
"This is not a new technical achievement. So what is it then??" - Charlie

It is yet another nail in America's coffin.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.4 / 5 (39) Dec 29, 2011
"The future for Russia is the America of the past." - James Kent

Since America has no future, how could anything else be possible or desirable?

Vendicar_Decarian
0.2 / 5 (38) Dec 29, 2011
"An airport with an extension of subway is the best of both worlds. " - Jim Clark

Well... No. The boarding delays will cause the system to be inferior to a train.

But thanx for playing. Come on back soon now... Ya hear?
Vendicar_Decarian
0.2 / 5 (38) Dec 29, 2011
I wouldn't travel that speed on anything that runs on rails in the condition of those shown in the photo.

Dedicated rails or it's a bicycle for me.
Skepticus
3 / 5 (4) Dec 30, 2011
A bunch of cash-strapped Americans jeering a Chinese technical test because they have no money, inclination nor vision of what that can mean to civil transportation to do such thing. They are more interested in investing in bigger, faster, more accurate, more intelligent, more deadly weapon developments. That's the American way- always will we have the biggest club!
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Dec 30, 2011
These high-speed trains are probably as useful as airplanes indeed.

For medium distances (less than 1000km) they are very good.
- Counting checkin/checkout times and commute to the destination I have oftentimes been much faster using high speed rail than going by plane over that distance.
- Many cities have their railway stations (more) centrally located than their airports. This reduces travel time substantially.
- Per person moving someone by rail has a third of the environmental footprint compared to air travel (this includes the footprint for erecting the infrastructure)
- rail isn't weather dependent.

And since you need the tracks anyways for moving mass cargo there's not much additional cost for setting up rails that can handle high speed passenger traffic during the day and heavy cargo trains at night.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 30, 2011
Much faster city-to-city plus city center arrival plus none of the insanity of 200 mph trainwrecks.

That is actually a very tricky thing

There are two relevant statistics here:
1) Chance of deaths per kilometer travelled via a certain mode of transportation
2) Chance of death per hour spent on a certain mode of transportation

By 1) Planes are safer (by a 3 to 1 margin) over railways
By 2) Railways are saafer (by a 3 to 1 margin) over planes

1) is actually a bit less than 3 to 1 if you include the necessary commute from and to your destination.
Burnerjack
not rated yet Dec 30, 2011
WHY? The new airliner they just built looks doubtfull?
Planes routinely exeed this speed by a wide margin. Is there a pilot shortage in China? Planes move people quite well. Trains move cargo quite well, albiet slower. This is a function of scheduling. High speed trains, IMNSHO, are more grandstanding than anything else. Cost/benefit ratio is rather lacking at best.
Burnerjack
not rated yet Dec 30, 2011
@Skepticus: You deride the "bigger club", while you enjoy the benefit. Seems quite "Leftwing" to me as America bashing has always been the fashion.
finitesolutions
not rated yet Dec 30, 2011
Of course for intercontinental travel nothing beats airplanes.
Before your plane journey starts you already spent close to 3 hours going to the airport, finding gates, checking in and taxing. So for an hour flight your total travel time will be 4 hours. 4 hours x 300 km/h will take you 1200 km on the train. Same as the plane.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.2 / 5 (37) Dec 30, 2011
"You deride the "bigger club", while you enjoy the benefit." - BurnerJack

And that benefit would be National bankruptcy, international derision, and free rectal Freedom probes by the U.S. federal government.

kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Dec 30, 2011
High speed trains, IMNSHO, are more grandstanding than anything else. Cost/benefit ratio is rather lacking at best.
Flying from Los Angeles to Orange County or San Bernardino using a commercial airline would be beyond stupid. Even flying to San Francisco the plane barely has time to gain cruising altitude before landing.
Skepticus
1.7 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2011
@Skepticus: You deride the "bigger club"...

What the benefits are you talking about? is it strip searches every time I have to board a plane? Getting bombed in UK, getting shot in Norway and elsewhere as the WOT goes on and on? Paying more and more taxes while the big cunts (no apologies whatsoever here!!)refuse to pay their shares, while the economy world wide is going down the sewer? What gas price reductions did i get from all those bellicose rhetoric about possible war over alleged Iran's nukes? Don't give me the crap about democracy, law and order. All the laws are made by men in power with vested interests, and if it happens that you are getting some of the crumbs, are you turning off your brain, prostrate and worship them? I see that you do. And, by the way, it doesn't matter whether it's the Yanks or not, jeering a non-US technical test and I will bash them every time, the biased, pathologically racist and arrogant turds.
Au-Pu
1 / 5 (1) Jan 01, 2012
In the photograph there looks to be a central third rail. Could that be the power supply system?
Critics of the extra time travelling to an airport and boarding forget to include the same needs for trains, they appear to assume that train travelers all live adjacent to the station whilst all air travelers live well away from the airport.
Where I live travel to a central station and to the airport are the same.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (1) Jan 01, 2012
It looks like, ummm, like the technological superiority of the United States, but it's receding ..


German tech mostly in a transfer agreement.

In the photograph there looks to be a central third rail. Could that be the power supply system?


No power lines or third rail .. they are diesel locos.
Skepticus
1 / 5 (2) Jan 03, 2012
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Vendicar_Decarian
0 / 5 (34) Jan 03, 2012
"your wives, girl friends and daughters can do the same!" - Skepticus

Post links here.
Skepticus
1 / 5 (1) Jan 04, 2012
"your wives, girl friends and daughters can do the same!" - Skepticus

Post links here.

ha ha you are funny...i just did a free promo for that spammer Roger Cooke and his folks, not mine..

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