May 03, 2017

Already home to the world’s biggest high-speed rail network, China has unveiled plans to bring a new generation of high-speed bullet trains to the public by 2020.

The trains will run on a maximum speed of 400 kilometers per hour (roughly 250 miles per hour) and will be created for markets linked to the Belt and Road Initiative’s goal of building a trade and infrastructure network that will connect Asia with Europe and Africa along historic Silk Road trade routes, according to the People’s Daily.

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“We will apply new materials in the research and production of the future high-speed trains, such as carbon fiber and aluminum alloy, which will help reduce weight and enhance energy efficiency,” Qiao Feng, an engineer at the CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co. told the publication.

Thanks to such technology, the trains are expected to reduce passenger travel times as well as reduce the energy consumption per passenger by 10 percent.

Besides making commute times quicker, the trains will also provide a new alternative for those living in crowded cities, according to Feng Hao, rail transportation researcher at the National Development and Reform Commission.

Hao told the People’s Daily that several markets within the Belt and Road Initiative, particularly countries in central and southeast Asia, the Middle East, and eastern Europe, are looking to either upgrade or create high-speed rail lines with technical support from China.

The trains will be tested along a part of the Beijing-Shenyang high-speed railway line and will be completed by 2019, before the new vehicles are debuted in 2020. 

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