September 25, 2017

New China bullet trains get their speed clipped

Faster than a speeding bullet, but there are concerns that it could be more like an unguided missile at top speed.

The Railway Ministry in China has lowered the top operating speed for its new flagship Beijing-to-Shanghai bullet train, which is scheduled to begin service this month.

The new line was advertised to run at a top speed of 380kph and was touted in China as a sign of its emergece as a global superpower.

The trains will now run at speeds of between 250-300kph which brings it inot line with eight other trunk lines on the network, which is still under construction.

The reduced speeds have come from sweeping changes the ministry following the sacking of rails minister, Liu Zhijun, in February for corruption and mismanagement.

Mismanagement – now that is a crime that Western Countries should put on their statute books. There are plenty of corporate moron’s in the West who are prime candiates to be charged with mismanagement but only seem to get punished with bigger bonuses.

Anyway, back to the China trains – some critics had accused Mr Liu of building a high-speed railway empire that was too costly for average passengers. This is hardly groundbreaking news. The peasants were never going to take their produce to market on a 300kph luxury bullet train.

A ticket costs around a months wages for an average rural citizen. We are hardly going to get all the ‘comrades’ on the same egalitarian train with that equation.

The main reason behind the speed reductions is shoddy, rapid construction of the rail network infrastructure.

But the rail ministry’s new leaders sent safety inspectors to examine the Beijing-to-Shanghai line, and have pronounced it safe for use.

Apparently passengers need not be alarmed about some of the foreign companies that sold the high-speed train technology to China saying that the trains were never designed to operate at such high speeds.

That is ok though says the rail ministry because Chinese engineers have improved on the technology and the trains were safe at higher speeds. Very comforting that.

Newswarped loves train travel but won’t be buying a ticket on the Beijing-Shanghai express just yet until it proves that it can stay on the track built for it and not go for unplanned excursions into the surrounding countryside.