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In July, the newly merged single Chinese manufacturer CRRC presented two prototypes for the next generation of high-speed trains, for now both designated CRH350:

The one in the foreground is the latest stage of development that started with the imported Siemens Velaros, the other is a grand-grand-grandchild of the Shinkansen Series E2. The professed aim of the development was to standardise technology around components with 100% domestically-owned intellectual property rights.

"350" represents the intended service top speed. When compared to that of earlier models, the number is symbolic of the post-Wenzhou-accident change in mindset, from boosterism to safety and efficiency. The current generation of trains, developed just prior to the Wenzhou accident, are designated CRH380, but were limited to 350 km/h in their short service life prior to the accident and 300 km/h ever since. In addition, there have been two earlier prototypes originally designated CIT500, and originally intended to break the world rail speed record, but these have been sidetracked and even re-designated (as CRH380AM).

Back in 2012, when I asked a Chinese representative what will become of the CIT500 prototypes, he explained that the new leadership focuses on economics, and a major design change of the CIT500 for higher speed – reduced cross-section – reduced seating capacity, thus those prototypes are viewed as a dead end to be used as technology testbeds at most, burying the record speed prestige ambitions.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 15th, 2015 at 08:35:19 AM EST
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