Page last updated at 10:39 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008 11:39 UK

China sets sights on rail record

High-speed train in Tianjin
China's bullet trains will be able to travel at 380 kph in 2012

China plans to produce the world's fastest conventional train for a new rail link between capital Beijing and main financial centre, Shanghai.

The country's Ministry of Railways says the trains will run at top speeds of 380km/h (236mph).

The trains will more than halve the current quickest journey time between the two cities of 10 hours.

The 1,300km high-speed line is due to be completed within four years.

'Mastering technology'

Previously, China had said it would run 350km/h trains - the same speed as those used on the country's recently opened express rail link between Beijing and the port city of Tianjin.

That line, which China claims is the world's fastest, cut journey times to 30 minutes from around two hours.

Zhang Shuguang, the ministry's deputy chief engineer, said that China had mastered the technology needed to produce the trains.

"It is possible that we can start to manufacture 380km/h trains in two years time, and put them into service on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway," Mr Zhang told the state-owned China Daily.

Investment

China is investing heavily in its rail infrastructure, upgrading existing lines and extending its network to the remote Tibetan capital Lhasa.

Japan's Shinkansen "bullet train" and Siemens's ICE train average around 300km/h, but a new version of the Japanese train is expected to operate at 360km/h when it enters service.

China's floating "maglev" service between central Shanghai and the city's main airport reaches speeds of 430km/h - however China does not count this as a regular train line.

It uses magnetic levitation to float above the rail track.




SEE ALSO
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