China: ‘Backstroke’ train leads world in speed and reach

Can you hear the sound of Beijing (or Shanghai or Hong Kong) trains rattling the streets yet? The Shanghai-based parent company of high-speed rail company CRRC Corporation Ltd unveiled a prototype to the public…

China: ‘Backstroke’ train leads world in speed and reach

Can you hear the sound of Beijing (or Shanghai or Hong Kong) trains rattling the streets yet? The Shanghai-based parent company of high-speed rail company CRRC Corporation Ltd unveiled a prototype to the public on Monday, Reuters reports. The train consists of the newly-developed “Backstroke” drive system that can propel a wide range of engines with room for eight cars inside. It will reportedly give a single engine the ability to operate in all 3,400 kilometers (2,300 miles) of Chinese high-speed rail networks, while the newly-developed parts mean one engineer would need only six hours of training to begin operating the trains, which will run between Shanghai and Guangzhou, a distance of 547 kilometers (328 miles).

While China holds the world record in high-speed rail speeds, announcing their own achievements over the weekend, Japan is also trying to find ways to keep up with China. Yoshiyuki Sakamoto, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, told Japan’s Kyodo News on Friday that the country was investing roughly twice as much as the Chinese are on high-speed rail. As part of the effort, Japan is now funding construction of 23 intercity projects, including at least three that offer high-speed rail to less developed cities.

Adding to the competition, Russia is building several high-speed rail projects around the country and is moving forward on two intercity projects in China. While there have been some concerns, mainly coming from the 2012 derailment of a high-speed train in China that killed 35 people, with the new test train rolling along this week, it is now looking likely that the Chinese government will attempt to sign a similar partnership with Russia. If everything goes well, work on those two Russian-Chinese high-speed rail projects could begin by the end of the year.

Read the full story at Reuters.

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