China has unveiled the latest upgrades to her world-class, high-speed trains, and they come in a variety of colours. Finally. And lengths too; from 5 January, a new extra-long, high-speed train shall be put into service between Beijing and Shanghai, via Nanjing.
The flagship of the new fleet is certainly the new CR400AF-B, in grey and red livery, similar to some existing trains. With a top speed of 350 km/h, the new model is 17 carriages in length, the extra carriage giving a 7.5 percent boost to capacity, to 1,283 passengers over its 439.9-metre length.
While their colour schemes may be the new set of trains’ most striking difference, much of the change lies, as they say, under the hood. While China’s first high-speed trains made great use of foreign technology, particularly that of Germany’s ThyssenKrupp, the newly unveiled generation employs a far greater proportion of domestic components than even their immediate predecessors.
With the new fleet of trains currently on display at the China National Railway Test Centre, social media lost no time in nicknaming one new model in particular, “The Hulk”, on account of its slightly stomach-churning green livery, albeit minus the purple shorts.
To use its slightly-less-catchy moniker, the CR200J comes in two variants, a short nine-carriage version, and a longer alternative, offering between 11 and 20 carriages. It is hoped purple seats may be suitable substitute for the shorts on some variants.
While the CR200J has a relatively-slow, maximum speed of 160 km/h, its innovative construction means the high-speed train can make use of the same inspection and maintenance equipment as traditional trains, meaning that China has high hopes for the export of the Hulk, particularly to rapidly-developing, Southeast-Asian countries.
Speaking with the Global Times, Xu Liping, a senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, “Since this bullet train does not require the construction of new rail beds, which will greatly reduce the construction cost, these countries may find it an attractive replacement for their current rail systems”.
Certainly, its nickname could well end up boosting sales of the Hulk, if just to keep them happy. After all, we wouldn’t like them when they’re angry.