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22. October 2007

China completes new "bullet" train body

The body of the first Chinese designed and manufactured high-speed train, with a possible speed equal to that of the famous Japanese bullet train, has rolled off the production line, according to the builder.

The train is the latest model in the country's China Railway High-speed (CRH) Series and China's first locomotive capable of traveling at 300 kilometers per hour.

Slower CRH series -- able to travel at 200 kilometers per hour -- are already in service.

Instead of being driven by a single engine, the high-speed trains are equipped with multiple engines embedded inside separate units.

"The completion of the body lays a solid foundation for the scheduled debut of the whole train by the year end," a senior official with CSR Sifang Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. Ltd. told Xinhua here Friday.

"The train body, made of aluminum alloy, weighs about seven tons, the lightest of its kind in the world," said the official who asked to remain anonymous. "The thinnest part only measures 1.5 millimeters."

Production of other parts, such as engines, were well underway, he said.

The company would deliver ten such trains to the Ministry of Railways in the first half of next year, according to the company.

The trains, which can seat about 600 passengers, will run on the 115-km Beijing-Tianjin route before the Beijing Olympic Games in August 2008 and reduce the journey time from the current 80 minutes to around 30 minutes.

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