China developing train to travel at 500 kmph

"We want to lead the world in high-speed railway construction," He Huawu, chief engineer of Chinese Ministry of Railways said. China created a world record on June 24, 2008, when the Beijing-Tianjin CRH3 high-speed train hit 394.3 kilometres per hour.

Experts however said the 500 km super fast train is still in the research phase. The newer high-speed technology is in its final phase of development. "As long as we can prove that the train can run without slipping at such a high speed, we have achieved our goal. It is just an experiment," Wang Mengshu, a professor at the Tunnel and Underground Engineering Research Centre at Beijing Jiaotong University, told the Global Times.

"Our aim is to tell the world that China has the ability to achieve this goal," he added. As of September, there were 7,055 kilometres of high-speed tracks in China and construction is underway to build another 10,000 KM.

The China-made CRH380A train hit 416.6 km per hour - a world record - during a trip from Shanghai and Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province last month. The train was designed to run as fast as 350 km per hour to cover the 202-km distance between the two cities.

It will make its debut operation officially at the end of this month. Some 80 million passengers are expected to travel the route every year. Travel time between the two cities was slashed to less than 40 minutes from more than two hours after the train was put into service.

By 2012, a 110,000-kilometre network of rails will include 13,000 kilometres of high-speed rails, the ministry said earlier. The 1,318-kilometre Beijing-to-Shanghai high-speed railway, which cost about 220.9 billion yuan (USD32.5 billion), is scheduled to open in 2012.

The train will cut travel time between Beijing and Shanghai by half to less than five hours. He, the engineer, estimated the length of high-speed rails would hit 50,000 kilometres in the near future, connecting all cities with a population of more than five lakh.

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