China's test train targets 500km/h

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 December, 2011, 12:00am


The mainland has unveiled a prototype train in Qingdao capable of reaching 500km/h - in local terms, that's fast enough to get you from Kowloon to Tuen Mun in three minutes.

The sleek tube resembles a traditional Chinese sword, and has six cars and a nose that looks like the front of a Concorde plane. But don't expect you'll be zipping along anytime soon. The train is for scientists only, a research tool to help them gather information about safety, energy use and passenger comfort when travelling at extreme speeds.

Wang Mengshu , who helped draft the nation's high-speed rail development plan, said the train had no practical application for the time being. 'There are no rail tracks that could let trains run so fast. It's not realistic in terms of air resistance either,' he said.

The mainland is taking a cautious approach to developing its high-speed rail network after a crash in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, on July 23. Two trains collided, killing 40 people and leaving at least 192 others injured.

The crash sparked public debate on the wisdom of the mainland's 'great leap forward' in high-speed rail travel.

In August, the government lowered the maximum speed for high-speed trains from 350km/h to 300km/h. The train was made by a subsidiary of CSR, China's largest train maker.