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Beijing-Shanghai rail trips will go faster

By WANG XIAODONG | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-28 09:12

Higher speed limit to boost efficiency; maturity of technology ensures safety

Bullet train trips between Beijing and Shanghai will get even faster in September when the maximum speed on the line will be raised to 350 kilometers per hour, six years after it was reduced to 300 km/h.

The travel time will be reduced to about four and a half hours, State-owned China Railway Corp said on Thursday.

The 1,318-km journey now takes from four hours and 49 minutes to six hours, depending on the number of stops.

One of the main reasons the speed can be safely increased is the next-generation bullet train models-dubbed Fuxing (Chinese for rejuvenation)-that were put into operation on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed line on June 25. Before that, all Chinese bullet trains were labeled with the word Harmony on their exterior.

The new models, using Chinese railway standards and technologies, are a big improvement over previous models in safety, comfort and energy conservation, according to the company.

Government regulators reduced the maximum speed of high-speed trains to around 300 km/h in August 2011 for safety reasons. Before that, trains on some of the first high-speed lines in China, such as the Beijing-Tianjin and Shanghai-Hangzhou lines, ran at up to 350 km/h.

The Beijing-Shanghai high-speed line, which opened in 2011, was built to the highest standards in the world, according to China Railway Corp. Passengers have taken more than 600 million trips on the line in the past six years.

The line has been in service for six years safely, and railway authorities have gained adequate operating and management experience for the speed upgrade, the company said.

After the Beijing-Shanghai line, other high-speed rail lines in China may switch to a maximum speed of 350 km/h, Xinhua News Agency reported.

"Restoring bullet trains' top speed to 350 km/h is a sign of the maturity of China's high-speed railway technologies," Liu Xu, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told Xinhua.

Sun Yongcai, executive director of CRRC, the largest supplier of rail transit equipment in China, said the company will keep tracking and collecting data for the trains and conduct research to ensure their safety at the higher speed.

Raising the top speed on the Beijing-Shanghai line will increase its efficiency and help ease mounting pressure from the increasing number of passengers on one of the busiest railways in China, according to China Railway Corp.

It will promote regional integration and economic development, increase China's competitiveness in high-speed rail technologies and contribute to China's railway exports, the company said.

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