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    In this photo released by China's Xinhua news agency, a bullet train passes over Yongdinghe Bridge in Beijing Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012

    Smart Bullet: China Eyeing Next-Gen Trains for Speedy International Journeys

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    China's smart bullet trains with speeds of up to 400 kilometers per hour are expected to be used across borders, which could serve the Belt and Road initiative by increasing international communication, specialists said.

    China is developing new bullet trains with speeds of up to 400 kilometers per hour, Ding Rongjun, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said at a press conference Monday, the Xinhua News Agency reported. "China is also looking into the next generation magnetic-levitation train with a top speed of 600 kilometers per hour," he said.

    "We are focusing on how to link TV signals to the trains so that passengers will be able to enjoy films on windows-turned-screens," Ding said.

    The new type of trains will be used along railway lines that cross the border where the type of tracks would change from one country to another, Sun Zhang, a railway expert and professor at Shanghai Tongji University, told the Global Times on Tuesday. "It will be equipped with two or multiple sets of wheels that can adapt to rail tracks with different standards," Sun said. 

    This technology could serve the Belt and Road initiative, as adapting to different standards could improve the efficiency of the communication between China and other countries along the railway, Sun noted.

    A permanent magnet drive system has been added to trains and is undergoing observation, Ding said, adding that automatic and unmanned drive technology will be used in the future, Xinhua reported.

    Replacing the electromagnet drive with the permanent magnet drive system will improve traction, reduce energy consumption and have better control of the trains, Sun said.

    The Fuxing ("rejuvenation" in Chinese) bullet trains, the current most advanced type of train in China, have reached a test speed of 400 kilometers per hour, and reached the maximum operating speed of 350 km per hour when they began serving the Beijing-Shanghai route in 2017.

    "China's comprehensive ability in railways is among the best in the world, but China still needs to improve its technical knowhow from Western countries such as France and Germany," Sun said.

    French, Germany, Italy and Spain all have trains that can travel more than 320 kilometers an hour, media reported.

    New trains with advanced technologies are still being tested to ensure safety before practical applications, Sun said.

    Ding said that China will conduct research in automatic drive and driverless trains.

    This article by Yin Han was first published in the Global Times.

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