China has the world's most advanced railway and high-speed railway system. It boasts the world's longest high-speed railway networks both in operation and under construction. Its high-speed railways are running in more diverse situations and at the fastest speeds in the world.
In this video, Zhao Hongwei, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and chief research fellow of the Chinese Academy of Railway Sciences, expounds on the important role of innovation in the development of China's railway system.
Zhao points out that the construction of high-speed railways is a huge systemic project which involves technologies in engineering, equipment, operation and safety. She mentions that China now has a high-speed railway network of four north-south and four west-east railway lines, and is planning to double the figures in both directions.
She elaborates on the various technologies applied to the construction of roadbeds, bridges, tunnels, tracks and high-speed railway stations as well as energy conservation and environmental protection. In 2019, she submitted a proposal on improving the connection between high-speed railway stations and other means of transportation.
In September 2017, China’s self-developed Fuxing bullet train, over which China owns complete intellectual property rights, succeeded in operating on the Beijing-Shanghai High-speed Railway at a speed of 350 kilometers per hour, marking China's shift from follower to leader in the development of high-speed railway technologies.
Zhao points out that the success of the Fuxing bullet train means China has established a complete standard system for the development of high-speed trains. The country's high-speed railway network is now leading the world in the turnover and shipment of passengers and goods, she said.
She goes on to say that China's high-speed railway safety system is also world-beating with its seven high-speed train maintenance bases that are capable of providing five-level maintenance services.
With the application of such cutting-edge technologies as the internet of things, big data, mobile interconnection, virtual reality and artificial intelligence, China's railway system is getting smarter and smarter, according to Zhao.
Speaking of the China-Europe freight train service, Zhao says the surge in the number of such trains in recent years greatly boosted China's opening-up and its trade with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.
She also mentions that the annual freight transport by such trains rose from 145,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2016 to 725,000 TEUs in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 71 percent on average. There were 1,700 such trains running in 2016, and the number exceeded 10,000 in 2020. The service now links over 70 Chinese cities to 92 cities in 21 European countries.
By the end of 2020, China's operating railway network reached 146,300 kilometers, 38,000 kilometers of which were high-speed railways -- an achievement unrivaled in the world.
Zhao also outlines China's two-phase strategy for becoming a transportation powerhouse by 2050.
According to a central government plan, by 2035 China's railway network will reach 200,000 kilometers, 70,000 kilometers of which will be high-speed. By then, the railway network will cover all cities with a population of more than 200,000 and those with a population of over 500,000 will be covered by high-speed railways. By 2050, China will be a modern railway power with a more advanced, digitalized, intelligent and eco-friendly railway system.
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