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Well, set aside that gratuitous opening sharing your personal opinion about china's "merchantilist" economic policies, I am interested in the following claim that one hears everywhere in a forum like this:

"On the basis of some trial runs, trains designed, thoroughly tested and approved for a certain top speed are simply authorised to go "overspeed". Practically all the CRH sets mentioned are approved for, and scheduled to reach, 50 km/h more than their nameplate top speed -- and may exceed even that when the driver is in a hurry."

and:

"While the CRH3 and the latest CRH2 version in service are already 'oversped' to 350 km/h, the next 140-140 each ordered last year will have that speed as nominal speed -- 'allowing' overspeeding to the desired 380 km/h. (For the CRH2, design improvements include increased motor power, better ride comfort, and CRH3-like stronger nose structure to resist the wind load; but from the little I read, attempts to improve aerodynamics with a modified nose shape were less successful.)"

Now on the face of it, these contradict the chinese sources, which mention a bunch of small scale twists and modifications - for the cars as well as for the tracks and signaling and control system - that supposedly make the train capable of running at 350km/h regularly. Unfortunately, the chinese sources do not go terribly deeply into the technical details, so that, in the face of contrary claims like yours, one cannot make for himself an independent judgment on the plausibility of their claim.

By the same token though, blogs like this also do not provide much in way of technical detail - about what the chinese supposedly did to their imported Velaro prototypes. You mentioned that you have "read" something enabling you to draw conclusions about their success or the lack thereof of their modification of the aerodynamics of the nose. My question is simply this: can you share those sources that make you so confidently make the claims I quoted above, claims that are obviously disputed by what the chinese engineers are saying?

by Ariel74 on Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 at 06:28:18 PM EST

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