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Transportation Technology

Chinese High-Speed Train Sets New World Record 267

Posted by samzenpus
from the speeding-bullet dept.
shmG writes "A new high-speed train linking Chinese cities Shanghai and Hangzhou has set a fresh world record for train speed at 416.6 kilometers per hour (259 mph) on its trial run on Tuesday. The train is expected to cut the travel time by half, to 40 minutes for covering a distance of 202 kilometers between the two cities at an average speed of 350 kilometers per hour. 'The new record of 416.6 km per hour shows that China has achieved a new milestone in high-speed train technologies,' Zhang Shuguang, deputy chief engineer of the Ministry of Railways, was quoted as saying."
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Chinese High-Speed Train Sets New World Record

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  • booyah (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2010 @05:06AM (#33744816)

    In your face Japan!

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      In your face Japan!

      You know this should probably be marked informative. I'm sure that this was as much of a motivation as cutting journey times.

      • Re:booyah (Score:5, Informative)

        by Sique (173459) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @05:21AM (#33744888) Homepage

        But the Shinkansen made 443 km/h in diverse tests, still about 25 km/h faster than the chinese train.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You should also note that the Shinkansen has to travel over curves with a much smaller radius than either the TGV or the Chinese bullet train does. Reality is that unless you have very long stretches of straight track, the Shinkansen is still the fastest. Neither the TGV nor the Chinese bullet train can come even close to the speeds the Shinkansen does around those curves. Of course, if the Shinkansen would simply build straight tracks (not exactly as easy as it sounds, considering the geographic locatio

        • by siddesu (698447)

          And the maglev shinkansen version has apparently gone well over 500km/h in manned flight while I wasn't watching:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_speed_record_for_rail_vehicles [wikipedia.org]

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by nojayuk (567177)
            The Japanese superconducting maglev system is being designed to run in service at 550km/hr. The test vehicles (which often carry passengers) can achieve this speed pretty much at will, it does not require special versions of the trains. The test area in Japan has two side-by-side tracks about 40km long (longer than the Chinese Beijing airport maglev) and they have successfully run two trains past each other at a closing speed of 1100km/hr, something that may cause problems with super-high-speed steel-wheel
        • Re:booyah (Score:5, Informative)

          by AC-x (735297) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @06:46AM (#33745196)

          And the French TGV reached 574.8 km/h in a special test run. However these were specially modified trains, while this Chinese train broke the speed record for an unmodified train

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_speed_record_for_rail_vehicles#Conventional_wheeled [wikipedia.org]

          • by foobsr (693224)
            However these were specially modified trains, while this Chinese train broke the speed record for an unmodified train

            Presumably it is a modified mixture of technology developped by Kawasaki, Siemens, Bombardier etc. .

            CC
            • by alfredos (1694270)

              Presumably it is a modified mixture of technology developped by Kawasaki, Siemens, Bombardier etc. .

              The train in the photo of TFA looks like a Siemens (with the usual mix of specialist providers, of course) to me, like those in service in Germany and Spain, and probably a couple other places. The caption doesn't say that the record breaker was that one, though.

    • Re:booyah (Score:4, Insightful)

      by siddesu (698447) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @06:28AM (#33745136)

      This is only a test. Wait until it is in operation free of trouble and come back again.

      If memory serves, Japan's Shinkansen has had only one accident (while braking during a very strong earthquake in 2006), and no dead people in how many years of operation now - maybe 40, maybe more.

      Wake me up when the Chinese beat that record.

      • by cyfer2000 (548592)
        There was one passenger killed by closing door. But the earthquake incident was really amazing, train derailed, but no one killed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kalidor (94097)

      In addition, to all the other posts, I have to wonder if the Chinese are using a sound limit. IIRC, the Shinkansen has it's speed governed so that the sound is limited to something like 78 db in the areas surrounding the tracks. This seems to be somewhere between the noise of vacuum cleaner at 1m and a busy roadway at 5 m. Somehow, I have my doubts that the Chinese authorities will have the same concern about auditory health of those people directly affected by this new train.

  • Wrong! (Score:5, Informative)

    by SmilingBoy (686281) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @05:06AM (#33744818)
    The TGV holds the record with 575 km/h! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TGV_world_speed_record [wikipedia.org]
    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      Even their 20 year old record from 1990 is faster.
      (515.3 km/h (143.1 m/s or 320.3 mph), set on 18 May 1990.)

    • Re:Wrong! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @05:27AM (#33744922) Homepage

      Yes ... but the average speed of the TGV on real journeys is a lot less - 279 km/h (173.6 mph) according to Wikipedia.

      • Yes but don't conflate technical issues with legal ones, part of the reason the TGV has a slower average speed is because laws and operational concerns force it to less than it is capable of. The reason China is focusing on average speed is because it knows it has an advantage there, the government is more than happy to shit all over its citizens in order to try to win an international pissing contest.
      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        Yes, it stops sometime to let people in and out.

      • Yes ... but the average speed of the TGV on real journeys is a lot less - 279 km/h (173.6 mph) according to Wikipedia.

        Please note that while one might be skeptical of Wikipedia's information, as anyone can edit the pages, it seems that even as proficient as chinese government propagandists are at altering reality, and even as proficient as chinese government hackers are at exploiting the mountains of Window's vulnerabilities, they have not yet deciphered the arcane complexities the wiki edit, which invariably seem to require a flame war. Perhaps they are ramping up their offensive and defensive resources before an attempt.

      • Yeah, but that's because the French transit employees (like all true French workers) are on strike 2 hours out of 3.

    • Re:Wrong! (Score:5, Informative)

      by AJWM (19027) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @05:29AM (#33744932) Homepage

      That TGV record is for a test train on a specially prepared track with customized power feed and tensioning on the catenary. It's not clear from TFA, but I believe the Chinese are claiming the record for a production train on production track (ie equivalent to scheduled runs).

      See e.g. this from the Wikipedia TGV article: "A TGV service previously held the record for the fastest scheduled rail journey with a start to stop average speed of 279.4 km/h (173.6 mph),[2][3] which was surpassed by the Chinese CRH service Harmony express on the Wuhan-Guangzhou High-Speed Railway in 2009."

      • That TGV record is for a test train on a specially prepared track with customized power feed and tensioning on the catenary.

        And most likely, that test track was completely secure. The biggest problems with TGVs right now is the possibility that someone might cut/jump the fences/barbed wires and walk along the tracks. People tend to underestimate the amount of time it takes to get off the track when they hear a bullet train coming.

        • by Joebert (946227)
          I guess the obvious solution is to electrify the fences with 20,000 volts.
          • Re:Wrong! (Score:5, Funny)

            by Ash Vince (602485) * on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:41AM (#33745386) Journal

            I guess the obvious solution is to electrify the fences with 20,000 volts.

            Actually, the obvious (and cheaper) solution is simply to make sure the front of the train is fairly sturdy and won't get dented by morons walking along the track looking for their Darwin award. You might want to make it easy to clean too :)

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Idarubicin (579475)

              Actually, the obvious (and cheaper) solution is simply to make sure the front of the train is fairly sturdy and won't get dented by morons walking along the track looking for their Darwin award.

              While this is a real design consideration, and modern high-speed trainsets incorporate deformable sections ('crumple zones', in automotive parlance) to absorb the shocks of a high-speed collision, it's still preferable to avoid impacts altogether. Even if the train isn't damaged by a collision, it's still delayed -- the line gets closed for hours while there's a police investigation, nobody can use the tracks, the passengers get grumpy....

              And hitting a live person is hell for the train drivers. Post-tr

        • by boule75 (649166)
          The record took place on the regular Paris-Reims line, which had just been built. Those new TGV lines are systematically built to avoid road crossings on the line and are equipped with high and sturdy fences to hold back big mamals from trespassing.

          So yes, the catenary was especially tensed, the train was somewhat customised (bigger wheels) but the tracks were "standard" : they just choose the straightest part of the line to set up the record.

          To come back to the Chinese line : how long does it take to accel
        • Re:Wrong! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Thursday September 30, 2010 @08:44AM (#33745772) Homepage

          575km/h is about half the speed of sound too, so assuming you hear the sound the train emitted when it was 1km away, the train will be only half a km away by the time the sound reaches your ears. And half a km at 575km/h is 3 seconds. Which is enough time to leap away, but NOT enough time to first turn and see what's going on, then get away.

          For real speed, you want vactrains. Maglevs with a pressure-cabin, in an evacuated pipe. This has numerous advantages. First, there's less risk that anything will be on the line, if the line is in an enclosed pipe. Second, if there's a near-vacuum in the pipe, then it requires substantially less energy to push the train since air-resistance is the primary energy-waste at these speeds, and third, it cuts noise enormously, if the train is floating in vacuum, there's less vibration to begin with, and there's little transmission of noise to the surroundings too. (vacuum is a very good way of stopping noise!)

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            For real speed, you want vactrains. Maglevs with a pressure-cabin, in an evacuated pipe. This has numerous advantages.

            if you could first solve the problem of both track and train's cost being increased by serveral orders of magnitude...

        • If train speed were limited by the ability to stop before hitting someone on the line, the limit would be about 30mph. I have driven trains as a test engineer, and at high speeds the brakes feel so feeble compared with a car that for a while it is as if they are not working at all. On descents the stopping distance can be well over a mile, which can include several curves that cannot be seen around. That is why there are "distant" repeater signals long before actual stop signals.

          It is also why, in the den

    • Re:Wrong! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Malc (1751) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @05:34AM (#33744950)

      The article's full of errors:

      A first-class train ticket to travel between the two cities is estimated to cost more than 100 yuan ($14.90), which is twice the existing fare, Jiefang Daily reported.

      I've done this journey a lot of times, the last time being three weeks ago. The current high speed trains (hitting about 170kph) cost Y54 (2nd class) or Y64 (1st class). More than double the price of the existing first class would be in excess of Y130, which is bordering on exageration. The trains are always full, and there are a lot of rich Chinese and Western businessmen on this route, so I doubt they will have trouble filling seats.

      Travellers believe that the high-speed train between Shanghai and Hangzhou make take longer than the two-hour drive on road if the train stops at all the nine stations along the route, seven of which are newly built in suburban districts of Shanghai and some cities of Zhejiang.

      What bullshit. The current high speed trains stop maybe once or twice between Shanghai and Hangzhou - why would this one stop more than that? It'd blow the average speed, and anyway, there are already slower regional trains. Trying to claim it's a two drive to Hangzhou is again exageration... especially trying to get in to Hangzhou with its absolutely abysmal traffic problems.

      I wonder though, what has happened to the maglev link between the two cities that they were building. I saw an elevating track by the highway a few weeks ago which was either the maglev line, or maybe something else.

      • Re:Wrong! (Score:5, Informative)

        by shikaisi (1816846) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @06:33AM (#33745152)
        Please remember there are no such things as "1st class" and "2nd class" seats in China. This is a classless society ;-) You can buy "soft seat" or "hard seat" tickets, however.
        • Re:Wrong! (Score:4, Informative)

          by Malc (1751) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @06:49AM (#33745208)

          Yes, you're absolutely right. I was translating for occidental type people, and trying to avoid the dumb jokes some people on this website come out with

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Yes, you're absolutely right. I was translating for occidental type people, and trying to avoid the dumb jokes some people on this website come out with

            Well, those jokes are all too appropriate when a "classless" society has to make facile claims like "soft seat" and "hard seat" to sell different classes of service.

            All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            Yes, you're absolutely right. I was translating for occidental type people, and trying to avoid the dumb jokes some people on this website come out with.
              Rugs are occidental, people like movies, are Western.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by PacoSuarez (530275)

              Yes, you're absolutely right. I was translating for occidental type people, and trying to avoid the dumb jokes some people on this website come out with.

                Rugs are occidental, people like movies, are Western.

              Wait, now we are also getting touchy about what oriental-type people call us?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by macshit (157376)

        The article's full of errors:
        ...

        Travellers believe that the high-speed train between Shanghai and Hangzhou make take longer than the two-hour drive on road if the train stops at all the nine stations along the route, seven of which are newly built in suburban districts of Shanghai and some cities of Zhejiang.

        What bullshit. The current high speed trains stop maybe once or twice between Shanghai and Hangzhou - why would this one stop more than that? It'd blow the average speed, and anyway, there are already slower regional trains. Trying to claim it's a two drive to Hangzhou is again exageration... especially trying to get in to Hangzhou with its absolutely abysmal traffic problems.

        You're right that no sane train operator would have all trains stop at all stations, but it's also pretty likely that even all-stops trains will be faster than driving. Modern HSR tends to be very light and have very good acceleration, so with good operating practices, a single stop need not add more than about 5 minutes of delay including deacceleration/acceleration time.[1] This HSR goes at 350km/h, so the total time taken by the train, including 9 intermediate stops could easily be 80 minutes or less -

      • by cgenman (325138)

        A tech article full of falsehoods and exaggerations? A US business that doesn't understand how trains work? I'm shocked.

        Seriously, though, you do make good points. I would also add that the biggest impediment to high-speed rail in the US is figuring out how to relocate people who live or work along the incredibly straight tracks that bullet trains require. Population reshaping, however, is something China is good at.

    • How do these speeds compare to the top speeds of roller coasters??? Are the passengers allowed to open the windows and stick their arms out??
      • African or European?

      • Top roller coasters do about 150km/h (so 1/4speed). And the windows in bullet trains don't open. Your question was just as ridiculous as asking if you can open the windows and stick your arms out of an intercontinental jet.
    • That's wrong, too (Score:3, Informative)

      by achurch (201270)
      As long as we're talking test runs, the Chuo Shinkansen [wikipedia.org] hit 581km/h in 2003.
    • by MPAB (1074440)

      From whom was it fleeing?

    • by cyfer2000 (548592)
      The TGV record was set on a modified train with two power cars and only one trailer. The Chinese one is in the normal operation mode.
    • by astar (203020)

      Wrong!??? Maybe not. Test mode vs operational mode?

      http://www.larouchepac.com/node/15928 [larouchepac.com]

      My personal view is that an operational speed, actually in production and use, is really the defining number. I am not quite sure how to classify this number, but it looks more interesting. The reason is largely societal. The French apparently built some good gizmos, but were not really committed enough to make them "real". The Chinese on the other hand likely think of rail as a key strategic element, not just in e

  • A TGV test train reached 574.8 km/h in April 2007. The new record is the average speed of 350 km/h.

  • by fantomas (94850) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @05:17AM (#33744868)

    Here in the UK we're lucky if our intercity trains get much over 200km/h [wikipedia.org] so I'd be happy with a mere 300km/h on the regular London to Glasgow route.....

    • Lucky bastard, here in California we get 120km/hr. And anything faster is going to be 9 billion dollars, and over a decade, just to build the first 25 mile stretch along existing right-of-ways.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Lucky bastard, here in California we get 120km/hr.

        And ironically, that was also built by Chinese people. :-)

      • by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @06:46AM (#33745194)

        In both cases the problem is the track ...

        In the UK the track goes around a lot of corners and is far from straight, and to take out the bends would cost huge amounts (especially through towns/cities)

        In the US your track is very poor quality (a legacy of the speed it was built and the huge extent of the network) and the cost of upgrading is huge ...

        The very fast trains in Japan/France/China all benefit from the local governments simply forcibly buying the land required at cost (or less) and getting on with it ...

        • In the UK the track goes around a lot of corners and is far from straight

          That's oversold; tilting trains can deal with this, as Bombardier has demonstrated.

          • Not really (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Viol8 (599362) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @07:10AM (#33745280)

            All tilting does is make it more comfortable for the passengers. It doesnt redice the centripetal forces on the bogies and track which will become severe at very high speed. Also signalling needs to be upgraded for very high speed running to take account of greater stopping distances amongst other things.

        • The very fast trains in Japan/France/China all benefit from the local governments simply forcibly buying the land required at cost (or less) and getting on with it ...

          Not to mention the high-speed urban renewal projects enacted by that famous urban planner Curtis Lemay [wikipedia.org], which put the respective governments in a position to modernize.

          (to be fair, Japan's rail network sucked well into the 1960's. But, having large portions of infrastructure leveled certainly helps avoid "legacy infrastructure" issues.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by iserlohn (49556)

          Where did you get that idea? In the UK the trains are limited to 125mph because of *signalling*. The GWML for example was built extremely well (by Brunel over 170 years ago no less) and is capable of speeds of 140mph and over. The problem is telling the trains when to stop and slow down. The proposed project to electrify the Great Western Main Line would also introduced in-cab signalling which would make the higher speeds a reality.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Judging from the picture in TFA I'd say it's a Siemens train. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siemens_Velaro .

    • by goodmanj (234846)

      Judging from the picture in TFA I'd say it's a Siemens train. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siemens_Velaro [wikipedia.org] .

      Hunh, I wonder what sort of industrial control system [slashdot.org] they use to run it.

      *wince*

    • That's because the article's doing a half-assed job. The amount of weasle words and unrelated crap is so bad the author didn't even want his name associated with it.

      here [skyscrapercity.com]'s pictures of the train in question. It certainly involves a lot of foreign tech but still, the fastest production train in the world is an achievement.

  • ...still squabble as to whether we even need such a train. Sad to know that in this field, we as a country, are still stuck in the 1950s with so many of our folks against any move to the 21st century.

    • That is a problem that is related to our much lower population density. Keep in mind that China and EU have much higher population densities. More so for China in that the population is really focused on one coast.

      With that said, where America is lacking is that we are not looking at Cargo and doing it across all of North America. Basically, we should be putting a high speed rail on the common cargo routes, rather than common human routes. Even now, AmTrack is talking a pure east coast route, where the s
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by demonlapin (527802)
        NIMBYs will prevent the construction of new track or the running of truly high-speed trains on existing tracks - tons of small towns have regulations regarding maximum train speeds. They're not necessarily all wrong, either, because of the large number of at-grade crossings.

        Rail in the US will continue to do what it does best - move bulk cargo cheaply. Any more just isn't going to happen.
        • by nomadic (141991)
          NIMBYs will prevent the construction of new track or the running of truly high-speed trains on existing tracks - tons of small towns have regulations regarding maximum train speeds. They're not necessarily all wrong, either, because of the large number of at-grade crossings.

          I believe train speed laws at the state and municipal levels are preempted by Federal law, so it doesn't really matter if those laws exist, they can be safely ignored.
      • by xaxa (988988)

        "High Speed" rail normally means over 180mph or so, and is so far for passengers only.

        What's the average speed of a freight train in the USA? When I visited they mostly seemed to go very slow, 30mph perhaps, so there's big improvements that could be made without the cost of a high speed line. The are fast freight trains here in the UK, mail and parcels trains might travel at 110mph, containers at 90mph, and even coal might travel at 75mph. Keeping it fast allows it to fit in with passenger services -- the p

      • With that said, where America is lacking is that we are not looking at Cargo and doing it across all of North America. Basically, we should be putting a high speed rail on the common cargo routes, rather than common human routes.

        Can't do it, signalling and track loads on cargo lines are not useful for high-speed trains. To get anything near "high speed" you need separate lins.

        Cargo in general is dying in the US. Since delivery over the last mile generally requires a semi-trailer to haul the container, it's typically cheaper in the long run to build a new container port than it is to trans-ship through trains. Then you ship the containers to the port and truck them the last 400 km or so. This doesn't work for mid-west areas, but the

        • by Marcika (1003625)

          With that said, where America is lacking is that we are not looking at Cargo and doing it across all of North America. Basically, we should be putting a high speed rail on the common cargo routes, rather than common human routes.

          Can't do it, signalling and track loads on cargo lines are not useful for high-speed trains. To get anything near "high speed" you need separate lins.

          Cargo in general is dying in the US. Since delivery over the last mile generally requires a semi-trailer to haul the container, it's typically cheaper in the long run to build a new container port than it is to trans-ship through trains. Then you ship the containers to the port and truck them the last 400 km or so. This doesn't work for mid-west areas, but the amount of cargo flowing there is limited to the point that it's not a serious consideration.

          The same is not true in Canada where the coastal loading areas are seriously limited, basically to Halifax, Vancouver and a few ports on the St. Lawrence while the main industrial areas are all inland 1000's of km away. As a result the railways up here are making money hand over fist, and they're slowly but surely buying up the US companies. Soo Line cars are very common in Oshawa.

          Really? [economist.com] This Economist article makes it sound like what's happening is just the opposite of what you said:

          "Rail’s share of the freight market, measured in ton-miles, has risen steadily to 43%—about the highest in any rich country. [...T]he fastest-growing part of rail freight has been “intermodal” traffic: containers or truck trailers loaded on to flat railcars. The number of such shipments rose from 3m in 1980 to 12.3m in 2006"

          • by xaxa (988988)

            I have a British source [tssa.org.uk] saying some rail freight is viable over distances as short as 19 miles (they're not making it up, my room at university overlooked the line that train uses. There were also trains of waste/recycling, which prevented lots of inner-city driving.)

    • China is different country, with a different geography, and a different history of development. China, for example, doesn't have a highway system comparable to ours. The percentage of Chinese who drive is much smaller than the percentage of Americans who drive. Also, at least at one time, we had a robust domestic airline industry, negating the need for trains.

      So, yes, whether we need such trains here remains an open question. If they were built, who would use them, and for what?

      The infrastructure needs of t

  • ......Wheeeeee!

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