ALTHOUGH plans for deployment of its fleet of high speed trains have slipped compared with the original proposals, Chinese Railways is on course to have all the CRH1, CRH2 and CRH5 trainsets in service during 2008.

The CRH1 sets built by Bombardier's Chinese joint venture company Bombardier Sifang Power Transportation Ltd in Qingdao were ordered in two batches of 20, the first in October 2004 and the second in June 2005, the total order being worth around €560m. The trains are currently in service on the Guangzhou – Shenzhen and Shanghai – Hangzhou routes, with each train operating up to six return trips a day totalling about 1 700 km.

Bombardier's contracts for the CRH1 sets were followed by the Ministry of Railways signing a 'strategic co-operation framework agreement'. This provides for Bombardier to work with MoR to establish a maintenance centre in Guangzhou that is able to service up to 250 high speed EMUs. The ministry is providing land for the depot and Bombardier is supplying maintenance management expertise, technical support, spares and training over 20 years.

Co-operation under the agreement has since been taken a stage further, and Bombardier has agreed to work on a joint project for another design of high speed EMU. Able to run at speeds in excess of 200 km/h, the train will feature sleeping cars and a full restaurant car, making it suitable for longer journeys than the CRH1.

The eight-car CRH1, originally designated by the supplier as C2008 (RG 8.05 p486), was designed jointly by BSP and the Bombardier plant at Västerås in Sweden. Traction equipment uses water-cooled underframe-mounted IGBT converters with 20 of the 32 axles powered. The wide bodies are of stainless steel with 2+2 seating in first class and 2+3 in second. All cars are air-conditioned, with a centrally-mounted pack in each car supplied by Faiveley Shanghai; the trains are intended to operate in temperatures up to 40°C. CR's standard LKJ train control system is fitted, together with the ASJ system for operation at 200 km/h.