Former official admits the top speed of Chinese high-profile bullet train is fabricated


China Economy  Updated:Sat, Dec 22, 2012 22:22 PM   By Bernd Chang


High speed rail,Bullet Train

China will open the Jinghu High-speed Railway linking China's capital Beijing and largest commercial city Shanghai to public in late June of 2011. 

Former Chinese railway ministry official Zhou Yimin discloses that the top speed of 350 km per hour of Chinese-made bullet trains is fabricated regardless of security. Many minor problems occur on the high-speed rail lines in service and some are actually not minor, but all were kept as secret. Preliminary test has been done on the Jinghu line, but the safety is till to be observed.

The Chinese Ministry of Railway has recently reduced the top speed of Chinese high-profile bullet trains that run on Jinghu(Beijing-Shanghai,京沪高铁), Wuguang(Wuhan-Guangzhou,武广高铁),etc. rail lines from 350 km (217 mph) or 380 km (236 mph) per hour to 300 km per hour(186 mph) . To these security measures, Zhou Yimin (周翊民),former vice general engineer of Chinese ministry of railway expresses his support.He discloses that the top speed of 350 km per hour claimed by China when former minister Liu Zhijun (刘志军) was incumbent, was actually fabricated using up the security coefficient of the imported trains. (Liu Zhijun was stripped off from the post of Chinese Railway Minister in February of 2011 amid corruption inquiry. )

Zhou Yimin says that when Liu Zhijun was on the post of Chinese railway minister,he demanded that all equipments of Chinese high-speed rails and trains should be first class in the world. The title of No. 1 in the world was ingrained in his brain.

“We bought high speed train CRH3 and CRH5 from Germany and cooperated with Japan on the manufacturing of CRH2 in the joint venture in Qingdao. On the sales contracts with foreigners, the top running speeds of the trains are defined at 300 km per hour. So, 350 km per hour, which claimed by Liu Zhijun as the top speed of Chinese made bullet trains,is actually a fabricated number. When the trains run at the speed of 350 km per hour, it is at cost of the security coefficient.” Zhou Yimin says.

Zhou Yimin adds,but soon Chinese railway ministry pronounced that China had developed trains that could run at top speed of 380 km per hour.This is because Liu Zhijun was pressured by public opinions. Japan and German media were very unsatisfied with Chinese large-scale claims that China had developed the trains at top speed of 350 km per hour by her own. They pointed out sharply that the Chinese made trains just used up the safety coefficient of the imported trains that actually could run at the speed of 350 km per hour but not recommended as a routine running speed.

The core components of the current CRH high-speed trains are all imported from foreign companies including Siemens. These years the technology of China in manufacturing railways and trains has been greatly enhanced after importing the trains, but China is still lack of research capability on the core components. Zhou Yimin says.

Zhou Yimin also points out that although preliminary tests have been conducted on the Beijing-Shanghai line for more than a month, the safety of the rail line is still to be observed.

“Actually, minor problems occur frequently on the high speed rail lines in service. Some problems appear to be minor, actually they are not, but the problems are all kept as secret. For example,on the Wuguang line, the cover of an electric generator once flew away. The train at top speed of 200 km per hour on the Beijing-Shenyang rail line repeatedly stopped due to malfunction. The construction of the high-speed rail line between Taiyuan and Shijiazhuang has been finished for only two years, but earth sedimentation has already occurred. It is said the deepest sedimentation reaches 40 cm and that the Beijing-Tianjin line also sees sedimentation.” Zhou Yimin says.

Sedimentation is a problem occurs frequently on rail lines, but there is a limit permitted. When the limit is surpassed, the train has to slow down, Zhou Yimin adds.

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