CHANGCHUN, Nov 28 (Xinhua) -- High-speed trains expected to travel across China's frigid northeastern regions are designed to withstand sharp changes in temperature, a chief engineer said Wednesday.
The country's first cold-proof, high-speed trains are expected to begin operation Saturday. Problems due to sharp changes in temperature once forced Eurostar, a European railway service, to halt services in 2009. The problems appear to have been solved in China's high-speed trains.
The trains, able to withstand - 40 C temperatures, will travel 921 kilometers between Harbin in Heilongjiang province and Dalian in Liaoning province.
CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles, a subsidiary of the country's major train maker China CNR Corp, developed the cold-proof train cars.
Kong Feng, a senior engineer with the company, said his team had solved the problem Eurostar trains once encountered, marking a major achievement in the development of cold-proof trains.
In December 2009, the Eurostar service was brought to a halt by snow and cold temperatures in Northeast France.
Experts believe snow got into the power car and melted after the trains entered the warm underwater tunnel beneath the English Channel. This caused electrical breakdowns.
Kong said the key lies in optimizing the train's condensate waterproof system while adding highly advanced anti-condensate water equipment to the exterior.
Kong said in test runs conducted in October that CNR train cars could handle snowstorms and extremely low temperatures.
The train can reach a maximum speed of 385 km per hour and can maintain a speed of 350 km per hour, he added.
The Ministry of Railways said earlier that the trains on the Harbin-Dalian route will adopt different speeds -- 200 km per hour during winter (Dec 1 to March 31) and 300 km per hour in summer (April 1 to Nov 30).
With 23 stops along the route, including the renowned industrial base of Shenyang city, the line will cut travel time between the two cities to about four hours from nine hours.
China aims to create a high-speed railway backbone network featuring four east-west lines and four north-south lines by the end of 2015.
The country now has more than 6,800 km of high-speed railway lines on which trains run at a speed of 200 km per hour or above. The length of the high-speed lines is expected to reach 18,000 km by 2015.