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Velaro CN loaded on board a ship in Bremerhaven

01/10/2008 AT 08:04

In all, sixty such trains were ordered by Chinese Railways in 2006 from Siemens and its Chinese partner Tangshan Locomotive & Rolling Stock Works. Three of those sixty units are being built in Krefeld. As many as five of the new high speed trains will be used to link the cities of Beijing and Tianjin during the 2008 Olympic Games.

It took less than three hours to load the 55-metric-ton, 25-meter-long cars of the first Velaro CN on board the freighter “Gjertrud Maersk” for ocean transport to Tianjin. The voyage will take six weeks. But, before these trains can be put into revenue operation on the Beijing?Tianjin line, a number of major milestones have to be passed: the first tests are already scheduled to take place early in 2008. Since this project began it has directly involved over 900 Siemens employees worldwide. And it was only a week ago that a Chinese delegation paid a visit to the plant in Krefeld-Uerdingen in order to get an impression of the first completed trains.

The trains have a total length of 200 meters. The CRH 3, the Chinese class designation for this train, is based on Siemens' Velaro platform for high speed trains, which in turn was developed from the ICE 3 built for German Railways (DB). The advantage of the Velaro platform lies in its ‘multiple unit' concept, i.e. the traction equipment and system modules are arranged under floor over the entire length of the train and, therefore, are not concentrated in a locomotive at the beginning and at the end of the train as favored by push-pull concepts. As a result, about 20 percent more seat space is gained from the same length of train because elimination of the locomotives creates additional space for passenger accommodation. Consequently, for example, the Chinese Velaro CN is able to carry 600 passengers. The wider car body allows five seats to be arranged side by side in the second class compartments. In addition, the train features a bistro-restaurant section that is directly attached to the first class area.

With an installed traction rating of 8800 kilowatts, the Velaro CN is built for a maximum running speed of 300 km/h. The fact that half of all the axles are driven direct gives the train a better acceleration performance than locomotive-hauled trains. Furthermore, the traction concept enables the unit to climb line sections with grades as steep as 40‰. The electric brake feeds the energy generated during braking back into the overhead power supply system, which translates into energy and cost savings. The train control system is based on Europe's ETCS and has been adapted by Siemens specially for the Chinese railway operations.

The design and engineering work for these Chinese high speed trains was carried out at the Siemens locations in Erlangen and Krefeld-Uerdingen in Germany. The production of the first three trains and major components likewise took place in Germany. The rest of the trains will be built at the Tangshan Locomotive & Rolling Stock Works in China, a production facility of the China Northern Locomotive & Rolling Stock Industry (Group) Corporation (CNR). The contractual agreements also call for the transfer of technology and the provision of support during train production. Numerous German and European suppliers of subsystems and components are participating in the high speed train project and technology transfer and are also cooperating with Chinese partners.

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