THE Bombardier Sifang Transportation (BST) joint venture has been building high-speed trains in the 200 to 250km/h range for operation in China for around 10 years and delivered its first CRH1A eight-car 200km/h EMU in 2006. Since then BST has supplied 168 trains.

In September 2009 BST received its first order for its new CRH380D train (pictured above) which has a maximum operating speed of 350km/h. This was also the joint venture's largest order for high-speed trains to date with a requirement for 70 sets.

Bombardier ChinaThe fleet was originally intended to be configured as 20 eight-car and 60 16-car trains, but this was subsequently changed to standardise the fleet on eight-car sets. The CRH380D trains are being manufactured at BST's Qingdao plant and the fleet was supposed to enter service last year. However, delivery started in March and 12 trains were supplied by the end of May. The entire fleet is expected to be delivered by the end of the year.

The CRH380D has four motor cars and four trailers with a maximum output of 10MW. It has a maximum design speed of 380km/h and achieved 420km/h during testing. The car bodies are made of aluminium rather than stainless steel which was used for the 250km/h trains to produce a lightweight design and an axleload of 17 tonnes.

The train has a maximum length of 215.3m and is 3358mm wide which permits three-plus-two seating in second class and two-plus-two in the single first-class coach which has 28 seats. There is room for 518 passengers in second-class, plus a small 10-seat VIP area. There is also a dining car.

The CRH380D uses Bombardier's ECO4 technology to minimise the train's impact on the environment. This includes an energy management control system which is designed to reduce auxiliary system power consumption by 10%. The train's EBI Drive 50 driver assistance system should boost traction efficiency by 14% while permanent magnet motors using Bombardier's Mitrac modular integrated traction system will increase traction force by 2%.

Optimised aerodynamics at each end of the train should improve traction efficiency by 12%. Improvements to the interior climate control system are designed to increase the efficiency of HVAC equipment by 38%.

The CRH1A-250 is an aluminium bodied version of a previous stainless-steel design. Chinese Railways ordered a fleet of 60 eight-car trains in August 2012. Type testing of the first train has been completed and test running was due to start in June with the objective of achieving 300,000km.

With a maximum length of 207.89m the aluminium train is slightly shorter than its stainless-steel predecessor and has a capacity of 613 passengers compared with 635 for the older version. The new train has a 16.5-tonne axleload which is 500kg less than the heavier stainless-steel train. The maximum output of both train types is 5.5MW.

BST has paid particular attention to the interior design of the new train and has taken full advantage of the latest advances in ergonomics to produce what it describes as an interior aimed at giving passengers a comfortable and high-quality ride.

This month BST will hand over to Chinese Railways a prototype of a new design of 16-car 250km/h sleeping-car train. This is also an aluminium-bodied train compared with CRH1E sleeping car EMU which had stainless-steel car bodies. BST supplied a batch of 15 16-car trains of the old design in 2009-10.

The prototype train has 532 soft-class berths and 110 second-class seats. Chinese Railways sees the new overnight train as a way to make better use of its high-speed network and provide an alternative to passengers who still face long journeys by daytime high-speed trains because of the great distances involved. Chinese Railways will use the prototype to gauge passenger reaction before deciding whether to order any series-production trains.