China presents freight train to break speed record with 350 kmph

A new record has been claimed for the fastest freight train in the world. The Chinese train manufacturer CRRC Tangshan presented its new bullet train, designed to carry cargo at a speed of 350 kilometers per hour. The new type rolled off the production line in Tangshan, in north China’s Hebei Province, on 23 December.

The model resembles that of a passenger train, but has a 85 per cent utility rate for cargo. It is made in such a way that it greatly reduces running resistance. High-speed train manufacturing is traditionally focussed on passenger traffic. Until now, the fastest freight train ran at a speed of 180 kilometres per hour, operated my Mercitalia in Italy.

Characteristics

The CRRC train counts eight wagons, with 2.9-meter-wide loading doors to ensure speedy loading and unloading. According to media sources, it is not only the fastest freight train in the world, but it can also be used at extreme temperatures: between -25 degrees Celsius and 40 degrees Celsius.

The train could cover 1,500 kilometers within five hours. Considering the large territory of China, this means a great boost to the domestic supply chain of goods. By the end of 2035, the nationwide rail network is to be expanded to a total of 200,000 kilometers, including around 70,000 kilometers of high-speed lines.

Trends

High-speed rail traffic is in high demand around the world. However, high-speed lines usually link major city centres, which are typically not the destinations for freight. Nevertheless, express delivery of goods is increasingly in demand with the current e-commerce boom, an high-speed freight lines are not a luxury.

This was the reason for Mercitalia to launch its Mercitalia Fast in November 2018. It connects the terminal of Maddaloni-Marcianise in Caserta, the natural logistic gateway to Southern Italy, with the Bologna Interport, one of the most important logistics hubs in Northern Italy.

CRRC

CRRC Tangshan is part of China Railway Rolling Stock Corp – the largest rail vehicle manufacturer in China by production volume. China is leading in terms of high-speed rail traffic. It has made great efforts in high-speed passenger traffic. In May 2019, CRRC Qingdao Sifang unveiled a prototype of a new maglev high-speed train. The vehicle is able to speed up to 600 kilometres per hour. The manufacturer plans to start mass production of the train this year.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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