BEIJING--In an apparent quest to push the boundaries of rail travel, China’s CSR Corp. unveiled its CRH380AL high-speed test train in late December, a train that can possibly attain speeds of more than 500 kilometers per hour.
Despite a deadly July 23 bullet train accident in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, that killed 40 passengers, this new test seems to demonstrate China’s unwavering pursuit of achieving the world’s fastest train.
Since the July accident in China, speed restrictions have been imposed on trains running on many railway lines in the nation, but this move indicates China’s renewed resolve to increase train speeds.
The six-car CRH380AL features an extremely tapered nose, similar to Japanese Shinkansen trains, to minimize air resistance.
“I embodied the image of an ancient Chinese sword,” the train’s designer said, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
To build the new train, CSR modified a high-speed CRH380A rail car it had developed based on technologies used in Japan’s Hayate bullet train operating on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line, which the Chinese maker purchased from Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. and its partners.
CSR has said the CRH380AL travels faster than the CRH380A, which recorded a top speed of 486.1 kph during its test run in December 2010. Chinese IT company NetEase.com Inc. reported that the new train is capable of reaching 600 kph.
CSR spent two years developing the train with the support of China’s Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Science and Technology, the company said.
With public concerns of safety in mind, Zhao Xiaogang, chairman of CSR, told Chinese media, “We will not operate the train at maximum speed.”
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