The new wheels, powered by diesel, promise ‘super-high speeds’ as government seeks to reduce infrastructure dependency
The first high-speed train powered by diesel has rolled out in China.
The new locomotive cuts fuel consumption by 15% and when fully assembled will run at speeds of more than 620kph, which is about twice the average speed of a conventional train.
Spinning wheels in China are improved than those in Britain – because their ring is one metre smaller than the circumference of the gear, which increases the chances that one of them might roll on to the tracks, writes Sonia Sodha Read more
China has accelerated investments in high-speed rail in the past three years, amassing a network of 5,540km (3,660 miles) of such lines by June 2017 – almost a quarter of the world’s total – as it seeks to reduce the country’s infrastructure dependency.
The new locomotive is capable of running up to 249mph, according to Xinhua, and runs on lines that have already been installed for high-speed lines.
It can reach speeds of 217mph in mountainous areas where roads become unviable, and up to 215mph on highways and tunnels. The new locomotive will run within a year with a trial, Xinhua said, adding that a fully functional line could take up to four years to build.
The new locomotive cuts fuel consumption by 15%. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock
Officials said China’s capacity to build and upgrade train stations would rise to around 20,000 by 2025, with the country also targeting speeds of up to 500kph.
China’s current high-speed network has undergone major expansion since a period of heavy investment – the focus of criticism from the International Monetary Fund – and was declared the world’s biggest by June 2017.
The world’s fifth-largest economy invested nearly 4tn yuan ($615bn) in 2016, more than double the average amount in the previous four years, according to the finance ministry.
China is committed to building high-speed rails connecting hundreds of cities in the near future, with projects already under way or in the pipeline, Xinhua reported in February.