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  • One major line entered service, on 5 January: Taiwan's THSR (Taipei-Kaohsiung, all along the Eastern shore). It is served by a modified, 300 km/h version of the Series 700 Shinkansen from Japan (700T).

  • In Japan itself, JR Central and JR West put the N700 in service: an improved Series 700 that can both tilt and travel at 300 km/h.

  • Also in Japan, the tests with JR East's two Fastech 360 prototypes weren't as positive as hoped. These trains were built for 405 km/h, and research with them was meant to result in trains doing 360 km/h in revenue service. The problem wasn't speed: 398 km/h was achieved. Rather, the very strict limits on noise emissions, overhead wire wear, and braking distances weren't met as planned. Thus, JR East's future E5 units will only do 320 km/h (same as the TGV POS and ICE-3 units on the LGV Est Européenne).

  • South Korea, however, was undaunted by the Spanish/European and Japanese failures to significantly raise top speed (well, to wit, there's still the French AGV): the government approved $100 million for the HEMU-400x project, for a 400 km/h prototype that shall result in a regular-service 350 km/h successor to the not-even-in-service HSR-350x. The prototype shall start testing in 2013.

  • China wants to finish at least one line until the Olympics, but that may be too rushed even for that country. Meanwhile, China Railways put in service more than five hundred trains of four imported/technology-transfer semi-high-speed types (CRH-1 to -5, with -4 reserved for a domestic production). The trains now run 'only ' at 200 km/h, to be (or already?) raised to 250 km/h. CRH-2 (based on JR East's series E2-1000) was publicized to the media without any mention of its Japanese origin...


* Morocco moved ahead with serious plans to build a high-speed network with French TGV technology.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jan 19th, 2008 at 10:24:03 AM EST
It seems the Sun never shines for South Korean railfans -- the best I found:

(This is the HSR-350x prototype)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jan 19th, 2008 at 10:33:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One major line entered service, on 5 January: Taiwan's THSR

Check ridership and revenue data in the Wikipedia article (most of it entered by yours truly...). But while 15.55 million passengers in a first year would be a dream for any European line, East Asia has different standards: daily ridership, though growing rapidly, is still about a third of the first, half of the later projections.

The construction of the line & trains ate up NT$489 billion (at current exchange rates €10.35 billion), with outstanding liability now totalling NT$377 (€8 billion), against a first year revenue of NT$14 billion (€0.3 billion), though this year they can safely expect the latter to double. Airlines already operate parallel flights at a loss, even with reduced fares. So, behind expectations, but it still will turn profitable.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jan 19th, 2008 at 02:57:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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