There’s nothing that China loves more than trains that go really, really fast, but what if they could go even faster?
Chinese researchers are currently working on developing the true “China Dream” — the next generation of high-speed trains that will be capable of taking passengers to their destinations around the world at a top speed of 500 km/h.
SCMP recently spoke with Jia Limin, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University, who revealed that these trains will run on a new hybrid-propulsion system that will allow for higher speeds than ever before even while chugging through some of the Earth’s most extreme environments, “from deserts to alpine plateaus to rainforests,” Li promised.
Of course, adaptability is important when you are attempting to lay high-speed rail lines across the entire surface of the Earth. China has made bids to build high-speed rail networks through the UK, Australia, Southeast Asia, Iran and Mexico, and already they are working on building 3,000 km of high-speed rail in Turkey, Thailand, Indonesia and Russia.
However, they’ve also had a run of rotten luck recently in this all-consuming mission. After triumphing over Japan in a battle to build a railway in Indonesia, that project has since been met with multiple delays and some just want it scrapped. In March, Thailand stated that it would be financing a long-proposed rail project by itself, thank you very much. Then, in July, it was announced that China would no longer be helping to build a high-speed rail link between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Meanwhile, China has also still received no response from Taiwan about a proposed cross-strait tunnel with high-speed rail.
Still, things are going quite well inside its own borders. Currently, China leads the world with over 20,000 kilometers of high-speed track. That is projected to expand to 30,000 km by 2020 and then grow to 45,000 km by 2030.
Perhaps, other countries will develop a similar need for speed when these 500km/h trains are rolled out. Currently, the top speed for China’s bullet trains is only 350km/h.