China’s newest and fastest trains on Monday took to the rails between Shanghai and Beijing. The bullet trains, known as Fuxing (which means ‘revival’ or ‘rejuvenation’ in Chinese), can travel up to 400 kilometres-per-hour, although most will likely average about 350 kilometeres-per-hour. Current bullet trains operating on the line travel up to 300 kilometres-per-hour.
The new carriages boast extra legroom, comfortable seats, power sockets and Wi-Fi on every service. The Fuxing trains are the first entirely Chinese-manufactured trains in the world. On Monday’s debut service, a pair of trains departed from Shanghai Hongqiao and Beijing South at 11.05am, making the 1318-kilometre journey in five hours and 45 minutes. At top speed, the trains could theoretically make the journey in just three and a half hours.
David Feng of Next Station: China, told Lonely Planet that, from 1 July, trains G1-G4, which are expected to use these new models, will be the fastest services on the line, taking just under four hours and 50 minutes. Feng also said the Fuxing trains offer a relaxingly quiet journey. “It’s very, very quiet indeed. Even at the platform, as it’s cruising off headed to the next station, it is quieter upon departure than the current high-speed trains.”
These new CR400AF-model trains are electric multiple units (EMUs), meaning the carriages propel themselves electrically, doing away with the need for a separate locomotive engine. They are also greener, consuming 17% less energy than China’s other bullet train models, and are equipped with a high-tech sensoring system that monitors the train’s performance and automatically slows in an emergency or unexpected conditions. At present, only two Fuxing trains are in operation on the Shanghai–Beijing line. But China Railway Corp plans to roll out more of the new models in the coming months, including two more trains running from 1 July.