By Jerom Bolt
This year, China introduced the concept of a magnetic levitation train that can run at 600 km / h. Developing high-speed rail is a priority for Chinese authorities and companies.
China started in 2016 the development of a test program for Maglev trains, through the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), the budget of the program is about $ 400 million. A wagon built at the Qingdao plant was presented and will be built by 2021 and a 5 km test track. In 2020, the first train prototype, with five wagons, should be produced and the following year will be intensively tested.
China has expanded its express train network in record time, and today the country has more miles of track than any state in the world. The train travel is a true alternative to plane travel to China, especially in the densely populated regions of the east, where you can practically reach each city by train. Since the country started with massive investments in 2008, the fast rail network has grown to almost 30,000 kilometers of rail, which is more than two-thirds of all routes worldwide. According to a study by Chinese scientists in 2018, if in 2005 one in one hundred Chinese used the train, in 2015 one in two Chinese used high-speed trains.
In its “Made in China 2025” industrial policy strategy, Beijing’s leadership defined rail technology as one of the ten sectors in which the country will become a world leader. The central government has a program to support companies in this sector. Last but not least, due to huge domestic government contracts, China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) is today the largest manufacturer of rail vehicles in the world.
According to an analysis published by Der Spiegel, in terms of financing, the People’s Republic of China has advantages that other countries can hardly imitate. In 2019 alone, 800 billion yuan was allocated for the construction of new routes, the equivalent of 102 billion euros. This is possible because Beijing-controlled state-owned banks lend huge loans. As of mid-2019, the state-owned rail company China Railways has granted loans to companies worth 5,290 billion yuan – 674 billion euros, which is about the same as Turkey’s annual economic output.
By Jerom Bolt