New bullet train that can operate under extremely cold conditions makes debut
A new type of Fuxing high-speed bullet train that can operate under temperatures as low as -40 C made its debut in Beijing on Thursday.
The CR400AF-G train will run on a new high-speed railway line connecting Beijing and northeastern destinations including Shenyang and Harbin, the respective capital cities of Liaoning and Heilongjiang provinces. The rail service will begin operation soon, according to the Beijing Municipal Development and Reform Commission, but an exact date has not yet been revealed.
The train, adorned with red stripes, is designed to run at a speed of 350 kilometers per hour and carry as many as 1,080 passengers.
Developers have taken measures to ensure the train operates safely in extremely cold weather, including adding unique braking and electrical heating systems.
The braking system can help to keep the brakes from freezing, said Zhou Song, director of the China Railway Beijing Group's bullet train center in Chaoyang district, where the new bullet trains are stored.
"For instance, if the train stops in Harbin (one of China's coldest cities in northernmost Heilongjiang) for an hour, because of the extremely cold weather, the braking system can easily freeze if it stops moving for a while. The new system will enable the brakes to move from time to time even if the train stops, like a person who stamps his feet to keep warm in cold weather," he said.
The train's designers also added an electric heating system to prevent liquid running in the pipes on the train for operational use from becoming frozen.
"Liquids cannot resist temperatures below zero, and a train has plenty of pipes, including the ones providing water for passengers and those that discharge sewage. To prevent those pipes from freezing, the electric heating system covers the entire pipe network onboard," said Gao Shichong, deputy head of the bullet train center.
After being put into operation, the CR400AF-G train will be inspected every 48 hours at the center. Each inspection will last up to five hours and will be conducted by five inspectors.
It is the second type of Fuxing high-speed bullet train that can operate under extremely low temperatures. The other type currently runs on high-speed railway lines connecting Beijing with Hebei province's Xiong'an New Area and Zhangjiakou, said Zhou, the director.
According to China Railway Corp, 1,036 Fuxing bullet trains had been put into operation since 2017. The trains have handled a combined 827 million passenger trips and have covered 836 million km.
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