CHINA: CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles has rolled out a prototype electric multiple-unit branded 'Rapidtransit'. Described by the manufacturer as an 'inner-city rapid rail vehicle’, it is intended for use on services linking major cities with their expanding suburbs, satellite towns and airports.

Announcing the roll-out of the trainset on April 24, CNR said that while the domestic rolling stock industry now offers products for the high speed, inter-city, metro, light rail, tram and maglev sectors, it lacks vehicles suitable for outer-suburban routes of up to 100 km, a new market sector in China with strong growth potential as cities expand radially and become polycentric.

The EMU is to be offered as a customisable design, with three, six or nine cars, using aluminium alloy bodyshells. A maximum speed between 120 km/h and 160 km/h can be specified, faster than metro trains designed for short-distance services and with more rapid acceleration than inter-city trainsets. The prototype is designed to switch automatically between 25 kV AC power supplies on heavy rail routes and 1·5 kV DC overhead on metros, enabling through running between networks.

To demonstrate the available options, one driving car of the three-car prototype has five doors per side, while the other cars have three doors. Interior options include luggage racks and a range of seating layouts including high-capacity metro-style longitudinal seating and a long-distance option with more comfortable seats arranged 2+2. There are no toilets.