December 08, 2015

High-altitude high-speed. China’s Alpine EMU to enter service this month

Written by  IRJ
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THE 1776km high-speed line from Lanzhou to Urumqi in the Xinjiang region of northwest China must rank alongside the Qinghai Tibet Railway as one China's greatest engineering achievements of recent years. The 31-station line crosses the Gobi desert and the Qilian Mountains, reaching a summit of 3607m above sea level in the Qilianshan No 2 Tunnel, making it the world's highest high-speed line.

This is an environment defined by extremes, from high desert winds and sandstorms to intense ultraviolet radiation and heavy snowfall. Ensuring rolling stock could meet the demands of operating safely and reliably at speeds of up to 250km/h was one of the key engineering challenges of this remarkable railway, and CRRC Corporation has spent three years developing a high-speed train specifically for operation in this high-altitude environment.

CRRC confirmed last month that the CRH2G EMU has been approved by China's National Railway Administration and the fleet is expected to enter service on the Lanzhou - Urumqi line this month.

CHSThe 250km/h trains are being supplied to China Railway Corporation (CRC) by CRRC's Qingdao Sifang subsidiary and are designed to operate in temperatures ranging from -40 to +40oC as well as sandstorms, high-winds, and intense ultraviolet light.

Bogies have been adapted to prevent frost, snow, and ice accumulation while the sealed bodyshell reduces the risk of failures caused by condensing meltwater. Underfloor equipment cabinets are pressure-sealed to minimise sand and dust ingress and a sediment control ventilation system ensures onboard air quality is maintained. An anti-roll device ensures lateral stability in strong winds.

Electrical equipment has been configured to minimise the risk of damage from lightning strikes, and traction motors, converters, and transformers have been configured for operation in low ambient temperatures. CRRC says the use of protective film on the windows and windscreens reduces UV penetration to less than 1% and UV-resistant materials have also been used to protect exterior paintwork and rubber insulators.

In order to validate the performance of the trains in extreme conditions, a driving vehicle and trailer from the prototype set was shipped to Europe in autumn 2014 to undergo tests in the Rail Tec Arsenal climatic chamber in Vienna.

The train seats 565 passengers in standard class and 48 in first class, with a wheelchair space and accessible toilet in one of the intermediate standard-class cars. The 3.3m-wide car-body enables the train to accommodate 2+3 seating in standard class, with a 2+2 layout in first class.

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