World’s first Alpine high-speed rail
What strikes me most about China’s stunning progress is its Speed and Scale. The country always thinks BIG and whatever it does, it employs enormous speed.
The new high-speed train on high altitude is another instance of Chinese engineering skill.
The new high-speed train will soon connect top cities in the high-altitude northeast region. This is the only high-speed railway in the world designed for a frozen, high-altitude region.
On October 8, the test train left Harbin West station located in the capital of Heilongjiang province for Dalian, a port city of Liaoning province. And it reached its destination in just over three hours. The 921-km railway line connects 10 major cities in northeast China, such as Changchun, Tieling and Shenyang and cuts travel by nine hours.
China has been running high speed trains to many destinations, including Beijing and Shanghai covering 1300 km in about four-and-a-half hours. But this is the first time it introduced the same in high-altitude sector.
I travelled from Hangzhou to Beijing in a high-speed train in April this year. The train was running at 312km an hour and it was a mind-blowing experience.
Talking about the high-speed train on the high altitude, Gao Baijiang, director, High-Speed Railway TECH Application Centre, said: “We used new cold-resistant materials and heat-tracing materials. They are energy efficient and keep the temperature in the train consistent and comfortable. We have used necessary engineering skills to prevent snow from disrupting the train’s operational system. And to achieve that, new snow-melting facilities have been installed in the equipment bay.” Th train can also withstand temperature as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius and summer temperature as high as 40 degrees Celsius.
The train can carry over 550 people with 8 carriages. No fire can be used on the train. Food gets heated with microwaves. Special facilities will be there for the disabled. Their restrooms are two times the size of those for ordinary passengers.
Zhao Wenguo, a top official from Shenyang Railway Bureau, said: “The opening of Harbin-Dalian high-speed railway means we have a more complete railway network in northeast China. The railway routes connect major cities in the region. It makes it more convenient for people to travel, and will help to revitalise the old industrial base in the region.”
The train service is expected to be operational by the end of this year.