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What will it take to increase the speed of China's high-speed rail?

(People's Daily Online)    13:54, June 12, 2016

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Senior management of the China Railway Corporation has said that raising the speed of China's high-speed rail is an economic problem rather than a technological one. According to a report in China Business Journal, in order to raise the average speed of China's high-speed rail from the current 300 kilometers per hour to 350 kilometers per hour, operational costs would have to increase by about one-third.

In recent years, calls to increase the speed of China's high-speed rail have been growing stronger and stronger. On June 3, President Xi Jinping asked railway experts at the exhibition on China's science and technology achievements during the 12th Five-Year Plan: Is China’s high-speed rail currently able to regain the speed of 350 kilometers per hour?

China’s high-speed rail used to be faster, but the maximum speed was decreased as of July 1, 2011. Except for the Beijing–Tianjin route, high-speed routes with a previous maximum speed of 350 kilometers per hour all dropped to 300, and the question of returning to 350 has not been raised again until now. 

He Huawu, Chief Engineer of the China Railway Corporation, told the reporter from China Business Journal that it is technically feasible for trains to regain the higher speed, but the decision has not yet been made due to financial concerns. "Higher speed will cause greater wheel and rail wear, which means higher costs. If the ticket price and number of travelers stays the same, it would not be economically feasible," He said. 

At an interview during the Two Sessions meetings,Sheng Guangzu, General Manager of the China Railway Corporation, said that raising the speed to 350 kilometers per hour would make operational costs one-third higher, mainly due to the increase in power, greater wear on parts and maintenance costs. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Kong Defang,Bianji)

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