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China’s 450km/h high-speed CR450 train to be tested this year, set to enter service by 2025

by Staff

China’s state railway group said it intends to complete prototype production and testing this year of what could potentially be the world’s fastest high-speed train, as it vowed on Tuesday to further upgrade its already massive network.

The development by the state-owned China State Railway Group, which operates the world’s largest high-speed rail network, marks a breakthrough for the CR450 technological innovation project launched by Beijing three years ago.

The latest model in the Fuxing bullet train series would have an experimental speed of up to 450km/h (280mph), and a commercial operating speed of 400km/h, the operator said during its annual work conference.

Its existing bullet trains can already travel at 350km/h, but the CR450 could potentially reduce the travel time between Beijing and Shanghai – one of China’s busiest routes – from over four hours to reportedly as low as two and a half hours.

China launched its first high-speed rail line in 2008, and the network is considered essential to the world’s second-largest economy and its 1.4 billion population.

The CR450 is expected to enter service by 2025, with a nationwide research project focusing on key rail technology ranging from automatic control and wheel design, to the steering system, rail upgrades and safety measures.

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In June, the China State Railway Group completed performance tests on new hi-tech components critical for the CR450, setting a record of 453km/h during a test run – said to be the fastest in the world – marking a “significant milestone” in its development.

The test was carried out on the Meizhou Bay cross-sea bridge, which is one of the major components of the high-speed rail network between Fuzhou and Xiamen in the southeastern province of Fujian.

China State Railway Group said the CR450 is expected to be more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient compared to the existing trains in the Fuxing series.

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China launches first cross-sea high-speed rail line near Taiwan Strait

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Separate research by Chinese scientists concluded the carbon footprint of high-speed rail is 6 per cent that of air travel and 11 per cent that of a car.

China plans to boost its railway network to 165,000km (102,500 miles) by 2025, including 50,000km of high-speed rail.

By the end of last year, China’s railway network covered 159,000km, including 45,000km of high-speed rail, officials said during the work conference.

Passenger numbers on China’s national railway network are also expected to rise by 4.7 per cent from a year earlier to 3.855 billion in 2024, they added.

Cargo transport, meanwhile, could reach 3.9 billion tonnes in 2024, up by 0.5 per cent compared to last year.

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