China's carbon fiber subway train, which is lighter, faster and more energy efficient, recently completed a test run in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province, signaling the coming of new subway technology.
The carbon fiber vehicle is expected to conduct tests on subway lines in various Chinese cities, according to a statement sent by the CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co. to the Global Times on Thursday. The statement said that the train has a top speed of 140 kilometers per hour and can be operated automatically. Normal subway train only reach speeds of 80 kilometers per hour. The vehicle can operate in harsh environments, including high temperatures and altitude. It can maneuver around curved and steep tracks. Ding Sansan, CRRC's vice chief engineer, said the carbon fiber being used for the body, frame, driver's and equipment rooms reduce the weight of a traditional train by 13 percent. The special locomotive traction system also reduces energy consumption by 15 percent, Ding said. Sound insulation materials also reduce the noise in the car by more than 5 decibel, the statement said. Windows of the new subway are touch screen. By touching the windows, passengers can read news, videos and TV shows. The statement said the carbon fiber subway train can detect malfunctions and send alerts through the intelligent monitoring and warning system installed on the vehicle. An active suspension and control technique enables the system to detect the vibration of the car and ensure the rate of vibration remains within tolerance range. When reached by the Global Times on Thursday, an employee of the CRRC surnamed Dou from the publicity department said that the carbon fiber subway is open to potential buyers, declining to reveal the vehicle's potential market. Sun Zhang, a railway expert and professor at Shanghai Tongji University, told the Global Times on Thursday that the future market for high-tech subway would be huge since many developing countries are in urgent need of subways due to insufficient new traffic technology, and the US as well, where subway systems are obsolete. The CRRC won its first US contract in 2014 to supply subway trains to Boston. The Boston subway is the US' first subway, which began services in 1897. But according to Sun, the carbon fiber-made subway would be expensive in the beginning and take some time before its price drops. CRRC, the leading Chinese railway equipment maker, has exported its subways cars and trains to more than 100 countries and regions, including the US, Saudi Arabia and India, the Xinhua News Agency reported.