The Beijing - Tianjin high speed line will be the first in China built for 300 km/h, and the alignment will ultimately permit 350 km/h operation.

FUTURE high speed line construction in China will use the design of the Beijing to Tianjin line as a reference, according to Systra. The French engineering consultancy is carrying out project management and design reviews for the 117 km route in partnership with the China Academy of Railway Sciences.

Tianjin Mayor Dai Xianglong said the city had been 'longing day and night' for improved links to the capital, when the Ministry of Railways signed agreements for the 14·3bn yuan line with the Beijing and Tianjin city authorities on March 7 last year. Construction works formally commenced on July 1 2005, and services will begin in time for the Olympic Games in August 2008.

Systra is in charge of project management, reviewing designs produced by Chinese engineering consultants and supervising works, testing and commissioning. Work is split between France and Beijing, where Systra has a team of 10 people.

An elevated design was selected because of the flat landscape and local geology. The line will run on viaduct for around 100 km, with individual bridges spanning rivers and roads. About 17 km at the two ends of the route will be on embankment. Precast concrete viaduct decks are being used to allow the rapid construction necessary to ensure the line is open in time for the Olympics.

Slab track and 60 kg/m rail will be used on the viaducts, with the pointwork at the intermediate stations also on concrete bases. The Max Bögl slab track is being supplied under a technology transfer agreement signed on November 19 2005 by Vice-Minister of Railways Lu Chunfang and Johann Bögl, General Manager of the German firm. The track will be installed in partnership with China Railway 17 Bureau Group Corp. Ballasted track will be used on the embankment sections.

The line will be electrified at 25 kV 50Hz, fed from three substations.

As part of the project, Beijing Nan station is to be completely rebuilt to modern standards, and will be extended onto land available nearby. Five platform faces will be dedicated to the high speed line. By the time of the Olympics the station will be served by metro Line 4, now under construction. Tianjin's main station stands on a more restricted site, and the existing facilities will be adapted to accommodate the new services which will use additional platforms.

Three intermediate stations are to be built to serve growing towns at Wuqing, Yongle and Yizhuang, where provision is being made for an interchange to a planned metro line, which would connect with Beijing Capital International Airport. A branch of the high speed line to the airport is also envisaged.

Growth forecast

Traffic modelling studies have been carried out for three timescales, beginning with the initial period after the opening which will be influenced by the Olympic Games. A short-term study has looked at expected traffic to 2020, and a long-term review considered passenger growth to 2030.

The long-term traffic estimates take into account the effects of the planned connection to Beijing Capital International Airport, and a projected 40 km extension of the line from Tianjin to Tanggu on the Bohai Sea coast.

High speed services will be worked by a fleet of 60 Velaro-derived CRH3 trainsets which are to be supplied by Siemens and China Northern's Tangshan Locomotive & Rolling Stock Works under a €1·3bn deal signed on November 10 (RG 12.05 p749). The first three sets will be built in Germany, and the rest assembled in China.

There will eventually be around 180 trains per day in each direction, with the shortest end-to-end journeys taking around 30min. Each CRH3 trainset will seat over 600 passengers. Transferring the existing inter-city shuttle service to the high speed line is intended to free capacity on the existing line.

The route will be supervised from a single control centre. The control technology has not yet been selected, but will be compatible with the future Chinese Train Control System which is to be implemented across the country. It is intended to be suitable for upgrading to CTCS Level 3, which will be functionally equivalent to ETCS Level 2.

  • CAPTION: The 300 km/h CRH3 trainsets ordered from Siemens and Tangshan to work the Beijing - Tianjin line will be derived from the German ICE3 design, whose styling is reflected in this locally-built Changbaishan trainset