China is moving up plans to satisfy its need for speed and launch the world’s fastest train service, leaving behind memories of past failures.
While we originally thought we’d have to wait until October, it turns out that on September 21st, seven pairs of China’s new Fuxing bullet trains will go into operation between Beijing and Shanghai, traveling at speeds of up to 350km/h.
Currently, trains on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed line crawl along at a mere 300 km/h, making the 1,318-kilometer trip in an excruciating 4 hours and 49 minutes. This speed boost should shave at least 30 minutes off that travel time.
This new generation of China-made bullet trains was unveiled in June. Named after one of Xi Jinping’s favorite catchphrases — “Rejuvenation” — they have a top speed of 400 kilometers per hour, plus more leg room. In the future, China plans to mass produce these suckers to replace the outdated Hexie (“Harmony”) models. Already, this week, they were put into operation on the intercity line between Beijing and Tianjin.
While the Hexie trains also used to run at 350 km/h, their max speed was capped at 300 km/h in 2011 following a train crash in Wenzhou which killed 40 people and resulted in a corruption probe that brought down some top officials in the transportation ministry.
Of course, that infamous tragedy could only keep speeds down for so long.
Follow Shanghaiist on WeChat