China just achieves another milestone in its enormous high-speed railway expansion plans. As the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics’ countdown continues, the latest 108m high-speed railway line linking the capital with Zhangjiakou, the Olympics host city, just started its service, decreasing the travel time between the two cities from three hours to forty-seven minutes. However, this isn’t only another bullet train. The modern train, a part of Fuxing series of China, can run above 350 kilometres per hour or 217 miles per hour without a driver – said as the world’s first. Also, it labelled as the first smart high-speed railway of the world.
The line took around four years to build and referred to as the Jing-Zhang high-speed railway that connects Zhangjiakou, Yanqing and Beijing; all these cities will host events in the upcoming Winter Olympics. The route will stop at ten stations, including the most popular section of the Great Wall of China, the Badaling Chang Cheng station. A subdivision line from the Jing-Zhang railway, the Chongli railway is also open and will transport passengers from Beijing to Taizicheng Station – a throwaway of the stone from many skiing venues of competition and the Olympic Village.
How smart this latest Bullet Train?
The latest rail line started operations on December 30, 2019, with the first bullet train running from the North Railway Station of Beijing to Taizicheng Railway Station. According to the most recent search on the official website of high-speed railway 12306 China Railway, at present, around thirty bullet trains are running between Zhangjiakou and Beijing daily but only six of them serviced by the latest smart train. For normal high-speed train, tickets range from RMB77 ($11) to RMB231 ($33) and for smart train the rates range from RMB90 ($12) to RMB270 ($38).
One should have to book two days in advance tickets for travelling on smart trains. Let’s discuss the smartness of the train, actually, the carriages equipped with high-speed 5G signals, intelligent lighting as well as 2,718 sensors to gather real-time data and self-detect any operational abnormalities. Moreover, each passenger seat has its own touch-screen panel along with charging docks.
Though the high-speed trains are autonomous, a monitoring driver will always be on board at all the time. The trains have ability to robotically start, stop and adjust themselves to the different speed limits between stations according to their need. Whereas, robots and facial technologies are present at the station to assist passengers with directions, paperless check-ins and luggage.
Trains’ Interior Olympics athletes friendly
The interiors of the trains designed by keeping in mind the needs of athletes as well as journalists in mind. Some of the trains’ cabins have big storage areas for the equipment of winter sports, that can access with the help of QR code. In addition, special storage spaces created in the trains to house stimulant test samples of the athletes.
The dining car can easily convert into the media centre during the Olympics season, with adjustable tables and seats making it easier on travelling of journalists with numerous equipment. The trains will also offer a service of live-broadcast and charging outlets beneath every table. They also feature seats that will be helpful for passengers travelling with wheelchairs during the Winter Paralympics 2022. A Winter Olympics speed skating gold medalist, Yang Yang said that the trains could improve the efficiency of their work, promote the winter sports of China as well as boost the ice and snow economy.
China-built First Railway System
The fans of Chinese railway are happy about the new route for another historical reason. Originally the Jing-Zhang Railway was the name of a now-defunct line. Initially opened in 1909, the first railway designed and developed by Chinese that links Beijing and Zhangjiakou. It took eight hours to travel along the whole route then back. The few remaining original stations of the line closed in 2016 to make way for building the new high-speed railway.
Meanwhile, China is home to the largest high-speed rail network of the world, that stretches around thirty-five thousand kilometres, and also the fastest commercially operating train – Shanghai maglev. Moving with the top speed of around 431 kph the train links Shanghai Pudong Airport with Longyang Road in the Shanghai eastern side.