World’s first 350 km/h freight train rolls off production line in China

The world's first high-speed freight train running at 350 km/h rolls off the production line in Tangshan, north China's Hebei province. Photo by People's Daily

The world’s first high-speed freight train that is able to run as fast as 350 km/h rolled off the production line in Tangshan, north China’s Hebei province Wednesday.

The cargo train is a result of 3 years of efforts led by the Tangshan company of China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) and joined by other industrial leaders in China.

It is equipped with 2.9-meter-wide doors, the widest ever on freight trains, and features a cargo capacity of 800 cubic meters, or the volume of 30 Boeing 737 jets added together. Besides, the train’s energy consumption per unit mass of cargos stands at only 8 percent of that of an airplane.

The design of the locomotive was inspired by Chinese sturgeon, and the silver-white-red colorway runs through the whole body of the train.

The high-speed freight train is able to operate in an environment temperature ranging from -25°C to 40 °C, carrying at least 110 tonnes of cargos that take over 800 cubic meters of space. The utility rate of cargo space is above 85 percent.

Compared with air and road transport, the high-speed cargo train is less prone to be infected by the environment. It can reach a destination 1,500 kilometers away in 5 hours.

The Chinese sturgeon-inspired locomotive is not only a shape design, but something that has effectively reduced running resistance. According to wind tunnel test, the train’s energy consumption per unit mass of cargos is only 8 percent of that of an airplane.

The train prominently improved China’s independent innovation capability in rail transport equipment, said Liang Yongting, senior engineer with the R&D center of the CRRC Tangshan Company.

Developed from China’s 350km/h high-speed train, the cargo train has made breakthroughs in multiple key technologies of rail express. It is able to improve loading and unloading efficiency and carry heavy-load and large-capacity cargos. Besides, the train has also realized en route management of cargos.

The train is finished with water-based paint that is environmentally friendly and has no pungent smell. In addition, the train is also equipped with a smart fire alarm system, and equipped with many new fire-retardant materials and technologies. For instance, intumescent flame-retardant coating is adopted for the freight space, which has a service time of over 10 years.

In recent years, the demand for logistics has been on an exponential growth thanks to the rapid development of e-commerce, Liang said. He believes the new high-speed freight train will further optimize the pattern of China’s overall transport and facilitate the building of a modern logistics system.

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