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Nation sets sights on rail record
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China will produce the world's fastest bullet train for the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway, a senior railway official has said.

Zhang Shuguang, deputy chief engineer with the Ministry of Railways, said the domestically developed train will run at 380 kph, the highest speed for any railway in the world.

And if the project materializes, the travel time between the two metropolises will be cut from five to around four hours, enhancing the rail network's competitive edge against airlines, he said.

Previously, China planned to run trains at 350 kph on the 1,318-km Beijing-Shanghai line, the same speed as on the Beijing-Tianjin intercity passenger railway that opened a month ago.

And the travel time is estimated at five hours, about half of the current time. Manufacturing 380-kph trains in China is already possible in terms of technology, he said.

China has established a comprehensive system for bullet train manufacturing, including basic theory, design, manufacture, maintenance and appraisal, he said.

In the past few years, China has imported technology to manufacture 200-250 kph bullet trains from France, Japan and Canada, and German engineering giant Siemens agreed to transfer a full set of technology for manufacturing 350-kph trains.

Using Siemens' technology, Tangshan Railway Vehicles Co Ltd in Hebei province has started production of CRH-3, a jointly designed 350-kph train, and is expected to be able to manufacture 50 such trains by next year.

China has also fostered an experienced team through the previous six speed-up campaigns and the building of the nation's first high-speed railway between Beijing and Tianjin, he said.

"We have mastered core technologies in terms of manufacturing high-speed trains and made innovative achievements in the process," he said.

"It is possible that we can start to manufacture 380-kph trains in two years' time, and put them into service on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway," he said.

Construction of the railway is progressing smoothly, according to He Huawu, the ministry's chief engineer.

It is likely that the high-speed line can be finished within four years, and become operational in 2012, one year ahead of schedule.

(China Daily September 1, 2008)

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