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China Restarts Fastest Bullet Trains

2017-09-10

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[00:00.00]
  • China will again lay claim to operating the fastest bullet train service in the world.
  • [00:09.59]
  • According to Chinese media, the Beijing to Shanghai train will once again be allowed to reach speeds up to 350 kilometers an hour.
  • [00:24.06]
  • A deadly crash between two bullet trains in 2011 caused China to limit the speeds to 300 kilometers an hour.
  • [00:36.85]
  • The South China Morning Post reported the change will cut travel time by one hour on the 1,300 kilometer trip between Beijing and Shanghai.
  • [00:53.03]
  • The faster Beijing-Shanghai trains will begin September 21 and additional lines will also be launched, according to the newspaper.
  • [01:06.75]
  • China already has several of the world’s fastest operating trains.
  • [01:13.84]
  • The fastest is a non-bullet train - the Shanghai Maglev - that can reach speeds up to 430 kilometers an hour.
  • [01:26.67]
  • The train is limited to carrying passengers from Shanghai’s center to the city's airport.
  • [01:35.54]
  • The term maglev stands for magnetic levitation.
  • [01:40.61]
  • In this system, train vehicles are kept off the ground and powered by magnets.
  • [01:49.43]
  • High-speed bullet trains have wheels and run on a track.
  • [01:55.51]
  • The second-fastest train in the world is the one running between Beijing and Shanghai, according to the website Railway Technology.
  • [02:09.88]
  • China also has more high-speed rail lines than anywhere else in the world - covering about 19,000 total kilometers, according to the Associated Press.
  • [02:25.11]
  • The fastest non-operating train in the world - undergoing testing in Japan - has reached a top speed of 603 kilometers per hour.
  • [02:37.43]
  • It is a Japan Railway maglev train.
  • [02:42.31]
  • In Europe, Germany, Italy and Spain all have trains that can travel more than 320 kilometers an hour.
  • [02:54.12]
  • In the United States, the Amtrak Acela Express – which connects several eastern cities - is the country’s fastest train.
  • [03:07.26]
  • It can travel at a top speed of 241 kilometers an hour.
  • [03:15.19]
  • Last year, Amtrak received a $2.45 billion loan from the U.S. government to help develop new high-speed trains expected to launch in 2021.
  • [03:32.53]
  • Amtrak says those trains are designed to travel up to 300 kilometers an hour, but will begin service at about 260 kilometers an hour.
  • [03:46.51]
  • U.S. company Hyperloop One is continuing to test its own high-speed transport system.
  • [03:57.62]
  • Hyperloop is being developed by businessman Elon Musk.
  • [04:01.42]
  • He created and owns the aerospace company SpaceX, as well as electric carmaker Tesla.
  • [04:10.52]
  • Hyperloop operates in a similar way to maglev trains, but uses vehicles called pods.
  • [04:18.97]
  • An electromagnetic force causes the pods to “float” on air inside a series of steel tubes.
  • [04:27.41]
  • The system forces air out of the tubes to reduce pressure and lower the resistance for the vehicles.
  • [04:36.55]
  • Musk recently announced a Hyperloop pod had reached a top speed of 355 kilometers an hour during a new test.
  • [04:50.29]
  • This beat the previous record of 324 kilometers an hour, reached by a student team from Germany during a Hyperloop competition in California.
  • [05:02.51]
  • Musk has said he plans to keep developing the Hyperloop system, which he hopes will eventually greatly reduce travel times between major U.S. cities.
  • [05:17.61]
  • He previously said Hyperloop would be designed to reach a top speed of about 1,200 kilometers an hour.
  • [05:28.61]
  • To most experts, that goal seems out of reach in the near future.
  • [05:35.85]
  • However, a Chinese aerospace company just announced plans to build a super high-speed train that it says could reach a speed of 4,000 kilometers an hour.
  • [05:51.15]
  • An official at China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation recently spoke about the project during a conference in China, the state-run China News Service reported.
  • [06:06.24]
  • The official said the planned train would use maglev technology, combined with a Hyperloop-style tube system.
  • [06:16.30]
  • He said a project team is currently working with dozens of researchers and companies to develop the world’s first “high-speed flying train.”
  • [06:29.30]
  • I’m Bryan Lynn.
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