23 August Beijing-China Railways Corp, the country’s rail operator, plans to purchase 500 bullet trains with an operating speed of 350 kilometers per hour from China Railway Rolling Stock Corp by 2020, it said in a statement on Monday night.
This move indicates that China is raising the operating speed of its high-speed trains from 300 kph since 2011.
China will also release a new schedule on Sept 21 to improve its rail passenger service and operational efficiency.
China’s new-generation bullet train, the Fuxing, will make seven round trips each day between Beijing and Shanghai from Sept 21 at 350 kph. It will be the world’s fastest commercial bullet train, cutting the travel time between the two cities from 5.5 hours to 4.5 hours.
Eager to compete with rivals in Japan and Germany, CRC and CRRC, China’s railway vehicle manufacturer, also signed a cooperation agreement in Beijing on Monday to deepen relations in every link of the railway industry chain, from research and development to design, manufacturing, installation, maintenance and financing.
CRRC Chairman Liu Hualong said the partnership will improve China’s railway industry, optimize the allocation of resources, modernize the current financing mode in the sector, and deepen the impact of the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as lead to the export of more new-generation bullet trains.
China started to run its first 350 kph high-speed train between Beijing and Tianjin in August 2008 and opened at least three more high-speed lines nationwide in the following years, until the government limited the maximum speed at 300 kph in 2011.
The Fuxing trains were unveiled in June and are capable of top speeds of 400 kph.
CRC and CRRC will explore a new mode of cooperation to lower maintenance costs for high-end equipment.
This cooperation will also result in the repair and maintenance of trains without the involvement of any outside party.
In term of supplying train parts, the two groups will work closely from resource supply to logistics.
“The ongoing State-owned enterprise reform has encouraged them to optimize their resources to gain more profits and a greater share of the global market,” said Feng Hao, a railway development researcher at the National Development and Reform Commission.
Feng said CRC and CRRC are likely to seek opportunities to expand overseas, especially in the fields of rail vehicle supplies, research and development, and maintenance.
CRC and CRRC will establish a supplier management platform in order to efficiently share information and build a credit evaluation system to ensure the quality of suppliers.