China sets new record in high-speed rail closing speed

By Qiao Xuefeng, People’s Daily

China’s high-speed trains set another new record!

On April 21, two new Fuxing bullet trains for testing independently developed by China passed by each other at a relative speed of 870 km/h, with each of them running at 435 km/h along a section of the high-speed rail line between Jinan, east China’s Shandong province and Zhengzhou, central China’s Henan province. This is the fastest closing speed among two trains in the world are able to reach.

The new Fuxing bullet trains will offer the most importantly technical support and guidance for the development of the CR450 project that aims to develop a new generation of high-speed trains running above 400 km/h, as well as the construction of the safety demonstration lines for 350 km/h bullet trains.
“The closing speed of 870 km/h, in other words, means that it only takes 0.86 seconds for two trains of the same length to pass by each other,” said an employee from China Railway, former Ministry of Railways of China.

Shortly before the record was made, the two bullet trains had completed another test in which they passed by each other at a relative speed of 806 km/h in a tunnel along a section of the high-speed rail line between Zhengzhou and southwest China’s Chongqing municipality.

Two new Fuxing bullet trains for testing pass by each other during an experiment. (Photo courtesy of China Railway)

The CR450 project, which was started in 2021, aims to develop more environmentally friendly, energy-saving, and more intelligent Fuxing bullet trains that better suit the 5G-enabled operation in the future.
“The new train is a world-leading model developed by China Railway in cooperation with Chinese enterprises, universities, and institutes engaged in the design and manufacturing of high-speed trains. It is inspired by the intelligent bullet trains running along the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed rail,” said the head of China Railway’s Department of Science, Technology and Information Technology.

The new Fuxing model is equipped with nine new technologies independently developed by China, including eddy current braking, carbon ceramic braking, permanent magnet traction system, and pantograph active control. Consisting of four power cars and four non-powered cars, the train features enhanced safety, reliability, as well as power, and economical efficiency. It is a world-leading train in terms of its comprehensive performance and showcases many new groundbreaking Chinese technologies.
An employee told People’s Daily that train meets are unavoidable along high-speed rail tracks, and when a bullet train traveling in one direction passes by another that goes in the opposite direction, the hard airflow around the trains may lead to an instantaneous wind pressure of 5 to 10 kPa, which will make fierce vibration of the cars, thus lowering comfort level and even making safety troubles.”

carbon-ceramic“That’s why China has always been conducting train meet experiments for bullet trains,” the employee said.

Since April, the new model has completed over 60 tests on regular tracks and in tunnels to evaluate its dynamics, aerodynamics, resistance, noise, and other performance in high-speed operation and train meet scenarios. These tests obtained data from the bullet train model, the roadbed, the tunnels, and other infrastructure under different working conditions, and revealed the rules of how safety and comfort indexes of the train vary as it speeds up.

China Railway said the successful tests of the train demonstrated the performance of new technologies and equipment and project practice experience of China’s high-speed rail. They are of important significance for improving China’s independence in railway technology and consolidating the country’s leading position in the sector.

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