By Zhang Mengxu (People’s Daily)
Despite the continuous queries of foreign media on China’s high-speed railway cooperation with neighbouring countries, the nation’s improved technology has earned China-made equipment more global recognition. Data shows that China is now home to more than 60 per cent of the world’s high-speed railways (HSR).
“Amid China’s breakneck development, one mind-blowing accomplishment quickly blurs into the next,” wrote Julie Makinen from Los Angeles Times after taking a HSR train from Beijing to North China’s Shanxi Province.
According to the work report delivered by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at this year’s National People’s Congress (NPC) session, China’s railway mileage reached 121,000 kilometers, including more than 19,000 kilometers of HSR, which accounts 60 per cent of the world’s tracks.
By 2020, China’s high-speed railways will reach 30,000 kilometers, connecting 80 per cent of her major cities, said Li.
At the same time, China’s railway technology has conquered more countries after making major progress in other countries. China has already launched several overseas HSR projects, including those linking Jakarta and Bandung, Budapest and Belgrade, China and Laos as well as China and Thailand, said Mr. Xu Shaoshi, director of the National Development and Reform Commission at a press conference.
Besides, survey work is underway for other projects. Sources from China Railway Corporation (CRC) disclosed that more resources have been devoted to accelerating the XpressWest connecting Las Vegas to Southern California in United States and rails linking Moscow and Kazan in Russia.
China is now negotiating with more than 30 countries including the US, Russia, Thailand and Iran on HSR projects, said NPC deputy Wang Mengshu, deputy chief engineer of China Railway Tunnel Group.
“As China’s first project in Indonesia, the Jakarta-Bandung HSR project will draw attention from more countries who intend to fuel economic growth by building a more effective transportation network and boosting regional connectivity,” Wang added.
“Compared with Germany and France, China’s (HSR) technology started later. With cost advantages, reasonable delivery time and flexible financing, however, railway equipment companies developed rapidly in China,” he said.
Wang pointed out that China will develop “smart trains” in the future that can digitally monitor train speed and detect train malfunction in a bid to compete with European, Japanese, Canadian and other major manufacturers.
“China’s high-speed railway has changed my living style. I hope to see more in Turkey,” a white-collar worker from a Turkish company told the People’s Daily when the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed railway began operation. The project, as the first European HSR built by Chinese contractor, marks the first time that China has helped build a high-speed railway outside her borders.
Thanks to its ability in manufacturing high-speed train and related equipment, China has taken on a new global image.
On March 9, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announced that CSR Sifang America, a subsidiary of China Railway Rolling Stock Corp (CRRC), was awarded a $1.3 billion contract to supply it with up to 846 new rail cars.
As part of its winning bid, the Chinese firm will establish a new railcar assembly facility in Chicago, the first of its kind in 35 years. The facility is expected to provide 169 local jobs. Prototype railcars are scheduled for delivery in 2019 and are expected to be in service the following year.