China conducts first military mobility test on bullet train

China conducts first military mobility test on bullet train

China has successfully conducted the first-ever military mobility test by rushing troops and weapons on its bullet train to the restive Muslim-majority Xinjiang province, aimed at evaluating its performance in quick movement of soldiers during a crisis.

Terming the test as a milestone in the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) mobility, the China National Defence Daily said that the trial has been successfully completed on the Lanzhou-Xinjiang high-speed railway in northwest China.

An analysis of the trial run held on June 2 evaluated the train when it is fully loaded with troops, soldiers' personal weapons placed on the luggage racks as well as in the spare room at both ends of each carriage.

Another test carried out with troops carrying Type-40 rocket launchers and Type-120 bazookas showed that the train's personnel transport capacity will be reduced to 80 per cent.

The data gathered at the test will be applied to the future emergency mobility of military personnel in the Chinese PLA Lanzhou Military Region, state-run reported.

To transport light weapons easily and safely, the Lanzhou railway authority specially made 1,000 sets of rifle stands, holsters and ropes, said Jiang Xiaolin, chief of transport of the military representative office at Lanzhou Railway Bureau.
These simple facilities had proved both practical and reliable throughout the test, he said.

Chinese bullet trains travels at a speed of about 350 kmph. It now has about 40 bullet train lines with 16,000 kms of high speed tracks.

China's extensive rail network in Tibet not far from Arunachal Pradesh providing the facility to move troops and weapons has evoked concerns in India prompting it to undertake rail, road and air development in its border region. 

Li Bao, chief of the military representative office, said "railways have always both civil and military functions, and high-speed railways are no exceptions."

Transporting troops using high-speed railways is a new trial of how to make most of railway development for the military, he said.

The high-speed rail where the test run was conducted links Lanzhou, capital of Gansu Province, and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It was put into operation last year.

The 1,776-km railway travels mostly through desert and wasteland, along with a 460-km corridor of high wind.

During trial operations in June last year, railway authorities in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, declined to reveal how many trains would set off from both terminals on a daily basis - the simplest way of calculating its transport capacity, nor did they comment on the military implications of the latest bullet train line. 

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