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China completes new 'bullet' train body
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The body of the first Chinese designed and manufactured high-speed train, with a possible speed equal to that of the famous Japanese bullet train, has rolled off the production line, according to the builder.


The train is the latest model in the country's China Railway High-speed (CRH) Series. This domestically produced locomotive is capable of traveling at 300 kilometers per hour.


Slower CRH series -- able to travel at 200 kilometers per hour -- are already in service.


Instead of being driven by a single engine, high-speed trains are equipped with multiple engines embedded inside separate units.


"Completion of the body lays a solid foundation for the scheduled debut of the whole train by the end of this year," a senior official with CSR Sifang Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. Ltd. told Xinhua on Friday.


"The train body, made of aluminum alloy, weighs about seven tons and it is the lightest of its kind in the world," said another official who asked to remain anonymous. "The thinnest part only measures 1.5 millimeters."


He also noted that production of other parts, such as engines, were well underway.


The company will deliver ten such trains to the Ministry of Railways in the first half of next year, according to the company.


The trains, which can seat about 600 passengers, will run on the 115-km Beijing-Tianjin route before the Beijing Olympic Games in August 2008. They are expected to reduce travel time from the current 80 minutes to around 30 minutes.


(Xinhua News Agency October 20, 2007)

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