China tests high speed train in high altitude region
Beijing: China on Monday successfully tested its new high-speed train connecting top cities in the high-altitude northeast region spanning about 921 kilometres.
The train arrived at its destination in Dalian of Liaoning province after just over three hours of travel time.
The new line spanning 921 kms connects 10 major cities in northeast China, such as Changchun, Tieling and Shenyang and cut the travel by nine hours, state-run CCTV reported.
This is the only high-speed railway in the world designed for a frozen, high-altitude region, it said.
China has been running high speed trains to many destinations, including Beijing and Shanghai covering a distance of 1300 kms in about four-and-a-half hours.
But this is the first time it introduced the same in high-altitude sector.
The engineering challenges were numerous, in building a railway across northeast China, where winter temperatures can drop to minus forty degrees celsius.
The high-speed railway used new equipment and materials to help it keep running smoothly despite the region's sometimes harsh conditions, the report said.
The high-speed train can travel at 350 km per hour in minus forty degrees celsius.
The railway runs across three north-eastern provinces, from Harbin at the north end down to the coastal city of Dalian.
"We used new cold-resistant materials and heat-tracing materials. They are energy efficient and keep the temperature in the train consistent and comfortable," Gao Baijiang, Director, High-Speed Railway TECH. Application Centre said.
Another challenge is to prevent snow from disrupting the train's operational system.
To achieve that, new snow-melting facilities are installed in the equipment bay. The train can carry over 550 people with 8 carriages. No fire can be used on the train, so all the food is heated with microwaves.
Special facilities are also in place to help the disabled. Their restrooms are two times the size of those for ordinary passengers.
Zhao Wenguo, General engineer, Shenyang Railway Bureau said, "The opening of Harbin-Dalian high-speed railway means we have a more complete railway network in northeast China. The railway routes connect major cities in the region. It makes it more convenient for people to travel, and will help to revitalise the old industrial base in the region."
The train service is expected to be opened for passenger traffic by the end of this year.