China tests first ever high-speed alpine train
After a fatal train crash a year ago, China backed off on high-speed rail projects. But they've renewed enthusiasm and commitment and on Monday began testing the world's first alpine high-speed train, which can maintain speeds amidst frozen temperatures.
The CRH380B bullet train not only cuts travel time across the 570 miles between Harbin and Dalian from nine hours to four, but can do so in temperature ranges of -40 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. According to chief engineer Zhang Xize, this is a particularly difficult feat because "ice could disrupt the train's power supply and signals system" but, "every possible safety measure" is in place to ensure another crash does not occur, like added facilities along the tracks that will remove snow and ice to protect the power.
Though China has approached high speed rail projects with caution since last year's crash, the economic benefits of such projects--which will boost both the industrial and tourism sectors--led them to reinvest in high-speed rail travel.
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— By Jenny Wilson on October 8, 2012, 5:00 PM