A Chinese-Canadian joint venture isto design and manufacture a fleet of 300 long-distance coaches for China's Ministry of Railways at a new factory now being built in Qingdao

PASSENGERS boarding trains on the Chinese network in 2002 will be in for a pleasant surprise. In March 2002 China's Ministry of Railways will take delivery of the first of 300 inter-city coaches from Bombardier Sifang Power (Qingdao) Transportation Ltd. BSPT is a joint venture formed of Bombardier Transportation, Sifang Locomotive & Rolling Stock Works and Power Pacific Corp*.

There will be 119 coaches with reclining seats and 181 sleeping cars, and the contract with the MOR includes an option for 200 more cars. The initial 300 vehicles will be allocated to five regional administrations: Shenyang, Beijing, Zhengzhou, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. All should be delivered by February 2005.

The coaches will be manufactured at a 50000m2 plant now being constructed by BSPT at Qingdao in Shandong Province, around 650 km southeast of Beijing on the Yellow Sea coast. Full production is due to get under way in the spring of 2001.

Technology transfer

Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, Bombardier Transportation is transferring certain technologies to China and contributing its expertise in advanced manufacturing techniques and managerial methods. Sifang is providing the land for the new plant, along with support services and its own specialised know-how. Bombardier's role includes building and maintaining the factory, and putting in place comprehensive employee training, materials control, tracking and other procedures that help shave costs and ensure good productivity.

The joint venture will provide each operating authority with 140 hours of training, as well as detailed operating and maintenance manuals, car-history books, as-built drawings and responses to technical questions.

Higher standards

According to Serge Bisson, President of Bombardier Transportation Asia, the new coaches and sleeping cars will be considerably more attractive, comfortable and higher in quality than the rolling stock they replace. With bodyshells of corrosion-resistant welded steel, they have been designed for ease of maintenance and repair as well as for maximum safety and passenger comfort.

The 300 identical shells will consist of seven modular sub-assemblies: two underframes, a roof, two sidewalls, and two end structures, all welded together. To achieve economies of scale, the design, materials, main components and equipment on both types will be similar.

Accommodating either 72 or 78 passengers in alternative configurations, the spacious seating coaches will feature up to 39 pairs of reclining seats with arm- and footrests, food trays and individual reading lights.

The sleepers will have nine four-berth compartments. Amenities will include a public address system and information display panels located at both ends of the cars to inform passengers of train speed and destination as well as outside temperatures. There will be washrooms in each car, equipped with both western and eastern-style toilets.

Bogies for the first 149 cars will be supplied by Bombardier to the design used on the AM 96 EMUs in Belgium. Sifang will provide SW-160 bogies for the remaining 151 cars. Both designs feature disc and tread brakes, a manually operated valve and air-pressure gauge for emergency braking, and an anti wheelslide system that will continuously measure the speed of each axle and take corrective action if required.

With the exception of a prototype coach being constructed at the Bombardier Transportation plant at Crespin in France, all work on the order, including testing and certification, will be carried out at Qingdao.

Bombardier regards the contract as an important breakthrough into the Chinese market and a stepping stone to further orders in southeast Asia. Bisson said that the MOR order had given BSPT the opportunity to launch manufacturing operations in this key region while meeting the ministry's objectives of modernising rail services and meeting local content requirements for rolling stock: 'The joint venture offers the Chinese ministry exactly what it wants - locally produced passenger rail vehicles that can compete with the best in the world'. He said that BSPT is mandated to produce a full range of passenger rail products for rapid transit, urban and inter-city applications.

Technical specifications

Gauge mm 1435

Length mm 25500

Width mm 3104

Height mm 4433

Coupling height mm 880

Maximum speed km/h 160

Bodyshell material China domestic Corten steel

Bogies: Sifang SW-160 wheelbase mm 1800

Bombardier AM96 wheelbase mm 1800

Mechanical automatic coupling

Electronic and pneumatic connections by jumpers

UIC compliant rubber gangway

Chinese standard disc and tread brakes;

UIC standard air brakes with two train pipes, and train-lined EP controls

Mechanical hand brake

Electronically controlled wheelslide protection

Power supply (all equipment in electrical locker)

Locomotive or generator car supplied by 2 train lines 3 x 380 V 50 Hz

Main users in 3 x 380 V or 1 x 220 V

Underframe-mounted 60 Ah/Ni-Cd battery and battery charger for protected 48 V DC


Manual hinged single-leaf entrance doors, with fixed steps

Interior saloon doors Coaches - actuated sliding doors

Sleepers - manual sliding doors

Hinged gangway end doors

* Bombardier Transportation supplies passenger rail cars and associated technologies worldwide. Power Pacific Corp is a subsidiary of Power Corp of Canada, a management and holding company with interests in the financial-services, communications and industrial sectors in North America, Europe and Asia. Sifang is a subsidiary of China National Railway Locomotive & Rolling Stock Industrial Corporation, a state-owned enterprise under the Ministry of Railways.

  • CAPTION: This artist's impression of the China Express vehicles shows the family resemblance with the Bombardier-built Horizon inter-city coaches supplied to Amtrak