China leads in many high-speed rail aspects

By Zhai Wanming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, April 27, 2015
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A CRH train that runs on Lanzhou-Urumqi High-Speed Railway stops at Urumqi South Railway Station in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Dec 26, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

Media reports suggest Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will try to promote Shinkansen bullet train technology during his visit to the United States (which started on April 26) to cash in on the US' plans to prop up its economy with high-speed railway.

Obviously, Japan is competing with China to get a share of the high-speed train market in US and some other countries. So which country has the upper hand?

China may be a latecomer in high-speed train construction, but some of its technologies are better than other countries'. For example, one exquisite technological requirement is that the surface of the rails that touches the wheels must be delicately clean while the track geometry should be smooth, because even the minutest flaw could shake a train considering its high speed. This is just one of the areas in which China excels - the rails on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed train line are so smooth that the test train reached speeds of 380 kilometers an hour without any evident shaking.

On another technological index - degree of ride comfort - China's high-speed trains' record is good, too. Every train has to pass strict even severe tests before being pressed into service to ensure passengers enjoy the maximum comfort. Many passengers who have traveled by high-speed trains in China and Europe say the former are better. On other indexes such as dynamic safety, too, China's high-speed railways show good performance.

Besides, China's high-speed railways cost the least in the world. It is globally acknowledged that, the cost of building high-speed railways is the lowest in China. In October 2014, while bidding for the Boston subway program, China CNR Corporation Limited, despite not bagging the contract, quoted a price that was only about 60 percent that of its Japanese competitor Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

The incident prompted Japanese enterprises to accuse China of "dumping", albeit without any basis. China's high-speed railways cost less because of the low cost of labor in the country. High-speed railways require civil and electrical engineering, and all kinds of physical labor, which cost much more in a fast aging society like Japan. And therein lies China's advantage.

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