Business, Finance & Economics

Despite crash, China unveils train that can reach 310 miles an hour


This aerial photo taken on July 24, 2011 shows rescue operations continuing on the wreckages of two high-speed trains that collided the night before in the town of Shuangyu, on the outskirts of Wenzhou in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang. China has ordered an 'urgent' overhaul of rail safety, state media said Sunday, after 43 people were killed in the worst accident ever to hit the country's high-speed train network. The collision of two trains in eastern China is likely to raise fresh questions over the rapid roll-out of the country's high-speed lines, the world's biggest at more than 5,000 miles.



Despite a July crash that killed 40 people, China is pushing ahead with high speed rail, unveiling a prototype which Chinese state media claims can reach 310 miles per hour.

(GlobalPost reports: China's bullet train crash blamed on design flaws, sloppy management)

The crash near the south-eastern city of Wenzhou, which also injured almost 200 people, led to accusations that the government was putting the development and profit of its bullet train network before safety.

Officials have since been accused of trying to cover up the causes of the crash, although China's the State Council said on Wednesday that in an investigation had found design flaws and missteps by 54 officials led to the disaster.

Liu Zhijun, the country's former railway minister, and Zhang Shuguang, the railway ministry's deputy chief engineer, are among the 54, Xinhua reported. Both were removed from office earlier this year, Xinhua wrote.

After the crash, in which a high-speed train made by state-owned train maker CSR Corp rammed into the back of another, the government ordered a slowdown of all trains.

The slowdown "welcomed by foreign experts – was reiterated and broadened under orders of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, effectively cutting all speeds by up to 50 kilometers per hour," according to the Wall Street Journal.

However, at the weekend, CSR unveiled the new experimental train in the eastern province of Shandong at the weekend that can reach 310 miles an hour, the China Daily newspaper said.

That compares with the top speed of 186 miles an hour per hour China’s trains are now supposed to be running.

According to the China Daily:

The six-carriage train with a tapered head is the newest member of the CRH series. It has a maximum drawing power of 22,800 kilowatts, compared with 9,600 kilowatts for the CRH380 trains now in service on the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway, which hold the world speed record of 300 km [186 m] per hour.

The bodywork of the train, whose design was inspired by the ancient Chinese sword, according to Ding Sansan, the company's chief technician, "uses plastic material reinforced with carbon fiber," according to the report.