28 AUGUST 2017
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As Britain wrestles with the HS2 debate, China will introduce the world’s fastest train on the prime business route between Beijing – Shanghai next month, knocking 1hr off the 1,318km (819mi) journey. The route opened in 2011 and is one of the country’s busiest lines.
Following successful tests, China Railway is deploying seven pairs of bullet trains named Fuxing, Chinese for “rejuvenation”, making 14 return trips a day at an average 350kph (about 217mph) and a maximum 400kph, 50kph faster than previous versions.
Authorities had previously tried to run trains at a maximum 350kph but in 2011 a signalling system fault caused a crash in Wenzhou in Zhejiang province, killing 43 people.
China responded by temporarily reducing the speed limit for its fast trains but also upgraded the railroads to maintain domestic and international trade growth. The new model has a monitoring system which officials say will slow the train automatically in an emergency.
China operates the world’s longest railway network and announced in May it was developing a new generation of trains capable of reaching 400kph (248mph) using new materials such as carbon fibre and aluminium alloy to reduce weight.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Andrew Sharp, United Kingdom
'A signalling system fault' is over-simplistic. Lightning took out some of the signalling system, and conditions for operating in degraded conditions were not followed as they should have been. So it was human error, not a failure of the signalling system.