China: The world’s largest auto market now wants to have the fastest train image

China supplanted the U.S. as the world’s largest auto market after its 2009 vehicle sales jumped 46 percent. Auto sales leaped another 32 percent in 2010, helping China extend its lead over the U.S, and for 2011 is estimated that total vehicle sales will reach 17.8 million.

But despite of this, the rail transport is the most commonly used mode of long-distance transportation in the People’s Republic of China.

As of 2009, Chinese Railway owned about 603,082 wagons, 49,355 coaches and 18,922 locomotives and ran more than 38,000 trains daily, including about 3,500 passenger trains.

And yesterday, China has unveiled a prototype train capable of reaching speeds of up to 310 miles an hour, which would make it as fast as the regional planes that have been flying everyone home for the holidays.

The train, whose sleek design was inspired by an ancient Chinese sword, was built using plastic reinforced with carbon fibre and magnesium alloy to reduce weight and therefore increase speed.
It has a maximum tractive power of 22,800 kilowatts, compared with 9,600 kilowatts for the CRH380 trains currently in service on the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway, which hold the world speed record of 300 km per hour.

When we will see this train in service is not known yet, but miles of line are planned to the tune of billions to accommodate a future vision of over 16,000 kilometers of dedicated high-speed rail lines connecting all of China’s major cities by 2020.