Chinese Railways Speed Increase Project

China Rail has increased the speed of passenger trains (and freights) since 1996. This is the state in late 2001.  Further down on this page is newer information.

The first express train, "Pioneer" was launched between Shanghai and Beijing on 1st April 1996. It achieved 140 km/h. On 1st July 1996, a new pair of trains, "Beidaihe", started between Beijing and Qinhuangdao. On 8th October 1996, another train  started between Beijing and Dalian. All these trains reached 140 km/h. They were "proof of concept trains".

A Swedish X2000 train and Swiss "lok 2000" locomotives started high speed services between Kowloon / Shenzhen and Guagngzhou, reaching 200 km/h.

On 1st October 1998, a new wave of speed increases was launched, and trains now reached 140-160 km/h. This was implemented upen the delivery of many enough locomotives of high speed classes DF4D, DF11 and SS8. The speed increase was implemented on the lines Beijing - Shanghai, Beijing - Guangzhou and Beijing - Harbin. The speed of normal (non-express) trains was increased to 120 km/h. They also increased the number of trains.

The third wave came on 21st October 2000, now on the lines Lianyungang - Lanzhou - Urumqi, Beijing - Kowloon and Hangzhou - Zhuzhou. Generally, the highest speed was now 160 km/h, and 200 km/h on parts of the line Shanghai-Nanjing. This meant the average travelling speed including stops of all passenger trains throughout the country was increased from 49 km/h to 56.8 km/h.

The fourth wave came on October 21, 2001 and comprised new trains on the lines with increased speeds from before, but also new lines, bringing the total length of the higher speed netwrok to 13.000 km. New line sincluded Beijing - Kowloon, Wuchang - Chengdu, Xiangfan - Chongqing, Daxian - Chengdu, Wuchang - Guangzhou, Hangzhou - nanchang, Harbin - Dalian. Cuts include Beijing - Guangzhou 22h 40 min down by 1h 18 min, Beijing - Shenzhen 23 h 58 min down by 5 h 51 kin, Wuchang - Chengdu 16 h 30 min down by  5h 35 min, Dalian - Harbin 9h 25 min down by 2 h 3 min, Shanghai to Guangzhoudong 21 h 6 min down by 2 h 23 min. There are now also 14 pairs of express freight trains operating at 120 km/h consisting of P65 cars.

In January 1997, a SS8 locomotive reached 212.6 km/h on the loop test track in Beijing, in June 1998 another express train reached 240 km/h between Zhengzhou and Wuchang.

In 2003, the high speed passenger line from Qinhuangdao to Shenyang went into service, with trains reaching 200 to 250 km/h.

Already in 2000, about 4000 passenger cars were equipped with disk brakes, and from 2000 on, all new passenger cars were produced with disk brakes. They assure emergency braking distances of 800 m from 120 km/h, 1100 m from 140 km/h, 1400 m from 160 km/h and 2000 m from 200 km/h.

The state in February 2011:

Liu Zhijun, Chinese minster of railways said in December 2010, at the global high speed rail summit, that 7531 kilometers had a speed of 200 km/h and faster, including 4322 km of new high-speed lines. Another10.000 km of high speed lines were under construction. Much of this due special government programs to help keep up investment after the globa financial crisis in 2008. However, Liu was investigated and removed in Feburary 2011 for graft. Nonqualified contractors may have gotten contracts for high-speed line construction and this made people worry about the safety of lines.

Since summer 2008, the new line between Beijing Nan (new station) and Tianjin is open to traffic with German-built ICE3 like EMUs. Maximum speed 350 km/h, transportation time 30 minutes, frequency every 20 minutes. The line Shanghai to Hangzhou, 202 km long, was opened in 2009, after only two years construction, speecd 350 km/h.

Since 2010, both Zhengzhou to Xi'an and Beijing to Tianjin as well as Wuhan to Guangzhou are open with high speed trains at speeds above 300 km/h. In December 2011, the 2078 km long new high-speed line Shanghai to Chengdu is planned to open.

A new high-speed line is being built between Datong and Huhehaote, to be opened in 2011. (Probably the line continues eastwards to Beijing, westwards to Baotou).

Speed between Jiayuguan and Wulumuqi will be increased to 200 km/h when electrification is finished in 2012.

Siemens got an order for 140 high speed train sets with 16 cars and 40 with 8 cars. They will probably be based on the German "Velaro" sets, (DB ICE3), as used on the Beijing Nan to Tianjin line. However, most of the construction is going to take place in China.

The State in January 2012:

China Daily had an article on 26 January, 2012, about the trouble facing China Railways with their high speed program. Railway minister Liu Zhijun was investigated for corruption in February 2011 and then removed. New railway minister is Sheng Guangzu.

In April 2011, the minister announced that new high-speed lines would operate at lower speeds, to mitigate possible safety problems.

On June 30, 2011, the new line Beijing-Shanghai was opened. Services operate at 200 and 300 km/h instead of the planned 380 km/h. This new 1318 km long line had some trouble during its first month of operation, which fueled suspicion about its safety.

On July 23, a high speed train rear collided into another stopped train near Wenzhou, killing 40 and injuring nearly 200 others.

After this, the two line Beijing to Tianjin and Shanghai to Hangzhou got slowed down service (probably to 300 km/h).

In October 2011, it was announced that the whole construction program of 10.000 km more high speed lines was stopped due to funding problems.

The ministry of railways has a debt of 2 trillion RMB, and this needs to be resolved before the program can continue. Many contractors have money outstanding, figures between 200 and 450 billion RMB are named. Some contractors did not pay their workers for many months. In November 2011, the Ministry of railways got 200 billion RMB emergency aid from the central government, but this may not be enough to restart construction.

This, the high speed program is currently more or less stopped.

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