China breaks another world high-speed train record

By Er Ran (
Updated: 2009-12-22 11:47
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The Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed electric multiple units (EMUs), independently developed and devised by the China CNR Corporation Limited (CNR), broke the world operating speed record for high-speed railways on December 9, reaching a speed of 394.2 km per hour.

Running on the Wuhan-Guangzhou railway, the EMUs were manufactured by CNR's Tangshan Railway Vehicle Co Ltd. The initial test run on the line took just three hours, some seven hours shorter than the previous running time. The Wuhan-Guangzhou Passenger Line now has the longest mileage, the highest operating speed and the most state-of-the-art technical standards in the world.

Sun Bangcheng, chief engineer of CNR, said the Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed EMUs are an upgraded version of the Beijing-Tianjin inter-city EMUs. Compared with the earlier models, the Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed EMUs have a number of innovative new features.

Distance and speed

The Beijing-Tianjin inter-city railway is just 120 kilometers long in total, whilst the Wuhan-Guangzhou Passenger Line runs to 1068.6 km. Sun said: "The average travel speed of the Beijing-Tianjin inter-city EMUs is about 260 km per hour, while the average speed of the Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed EMUs is over 341 km per hour."

"By optimizing the design of the traction system parameters, the capability of Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed EMUs will be enhanced so that it can give full play to the EMUs' 8,800kw of power. It will accelerate and sustain the capacity of its high-speed operation."

Easy cross the obstacles

Bridges and tunnels are the main challenges for the Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed EMUs. The passenger line has 684 bridges and 226 tunnels, which account for 66.7 percent of its total length. Ensuring the EMUs maintain a high speed, whilst operating safely has been of paramount importance.

According to a number of experts, the wheel-rail relationship has now been optimized. When the Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed EMUs are running at a high speed, they still retain a considerable safety margin. Block centers for the train's wireless systems have been installed beneath the track so that the "brain" of the EMUs is more flexible.

CNR uses the optimization of the aerodynamic performance of the EMUs to achieve the necessary technical requirements and effectively reduce the running resistance and the internal and external noise of the EMUs.

At present, the domestic EMUs lead the world with their traction and brake system, according to the company.

Highest speed in the world

Compared with the Beijing-Tianjin inter-city EMUs, which have a separate grouping of eight railway carriages, the Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed EMUs consist of two high-speed engines with 16 railway carriages.

According to technical experts, the operation mode of single-vehicle trains is used in most developed countries, which keep the speed below 300 kilometers per hour. However, by using two high-speed engines, the Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed EMU can reach 394.2 kilometers per hour and maintain an average speed of 341 kilometers per hour.

The main objective of using the model of two high-speed trains, according to the company, is to increase passenger capacity. General EMUs only have 8 carriages and carry 610 people, whilst the Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed EMUs have 16 carriages and carry double the number of passengers.

In order to alleviate the Spring Festival passenger flow peak numbers, the Wuhan-Guangzhou Passenger Line will begin operation from December 26 this year.