China Primers - Trains

The Evolution of Chinese High Speed Trains – from Zero to 480km/h+

In a previous post, we took a dive into the development of China’s High Speed Railway (HSR) and running concurrently with that was the development of the EMU’s (electric multiple unit) being the Harmony model trains and the latest Fuxing model, aka China’s bullet trains.

When Liu Zhijun took the helm of the Ministry of Railways in 2003, he proposed and implemented the “leapfrog development” of railways in order to narrow the gap between railway locomotive equipment and international advanced levels as soon as possible.

In 2004, with high speed rail firmly on the national agenda, China’s Ministry of Railways implemented the “introduction of advanced technology, joint design and production, create Chinese brands (引进先进技术、联合设计生产、打造中国品牌)”. The basic principle, absorbing all the world’s EMU technology.

Working with China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corp (CSR) and China North Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corp (CNR), and their affiliates, the foreign companies included Canada’s Bombardier, Kawasaki of Japan, Germany’s Siemens, and Alstom of France.

Fun facts: the fastest speed set by an EMU in China is 487.3 km/h by a CRH380BL train on the Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway during a testing run on January 10, 2011. The fastest service in daily operation is the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway which averages 291.9 and reaches top speeds of 350 km/h with the new Fuxing model EMU.

CRH Harmony (Hexie) EMU 和谐号电力动车组

CRH1 – Canadian Bombardier partnership

The prototype CRH1A EMU is the Regina C2008 type provided by Bombardier Transport. A joint partnership was formed between Bombardier and Qingdao Sifang would go onto produce the CRH1 models in China. CRH1 is mainly used for intercity transportation.

CRH1A: Nominal operating speed of 200 km/h, and a maximum operating speed of 250 km/h. The first units went into operation on the Guangzhou Shenzhen Railway in 2007.

CRH1B:  The maximum operating speed is 200-250km/h, and the appearance of the car body is unchanged. CRH1B EMU was been assigned to the Shanghai Railway Administration in April 2009, and operated on the Shanghai-Nanjing and Shanghai South-Hangzhou intercity lines.


CRH1E: based on Bombardier’s ZEFIRO 250 series with a maximum operating speed of 250km/h. The group consists of 1 luxury soft sleeper car, 12 soft sleeper car, 2 second-class passenger cars and 1 dining car. On November 4, 2009, CRH1E went online and served as the D313/314 EMU train between Beijing and Shanghai.

By April 2018, a total of 260 CRH1 series high-speed trains had been shipped from the factory. (CRH1 has now been superseded by the CRH5).

CRH2 – Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Electric, and Hitachi partnership

Originally, the CRH2 was based on the E2-1000 Series Shinkansen design from Japan with the license purchased from a consortium formed of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Electric, and Hitachi. They are designed for 200 km/h operation but 250 km/h capable.


CRH2A: Nominal operating speed of 200 km/h, and a maximum operating speed of 250 km/h. As of October 2016, most of the CRH2A types were assigned to Nanchang Bureau, Chengdu Bureau, Shanghai Bureau, Nanning Bureau, and Guangzhou Bureau.

CRH2B: Designed maximum operation speed is 250 km/h. The first units were delivered on June 29, 2008, and came into service on the Hefei–Nanjing Passenger Railway on August 1, 2008.


CRH2C: Is China’s first locally made high speed train produce by CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co., Ltd. The first model was put into use on August 1, 2008 on the Beijing-Tianjin inter-city and Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed rail. The second model, with a top speed of 380 kilometers was put into operation on the Zhengxi High Speed ​​Rail in early 2010.

CRH2E – note the height and double row

CRH2E: is a sleeper train with a nominal speed of 200 kilometers per hour and a maximum operating speed of 250 kilometers per hour.  It was first put into use on the Beijing-Shanghai railway on December 21, 2008. A newer version has since been released, CRH2E-NG which updates the original.


CRH2G: featuring resistance to high cold, wind and sand, high temperature resistance, high altitude adaptation, and UV resistance. Safe operation under high winds, suitable for the climatic conditions of the second double line of the Lan-Xin Railway.

CRH3 – The Siemens partnership

The CRH3 Hexie is a version of the Siemens Velaro high-speed train used in China on the Beijing–Tianjin intercity railway line, Wuhan-Guangzhou Passenger Dedicated Line, Zhengzhou-Xi’an Passenger Dedicated Line and the Shanghai–Nanjing intercity railway.

CRH3C: developed from German Railway ICE3 EMU. According to the contract, Siemens manufactured the first three CRH3C trains and some important components locally in Germany; and provided technical support and technology transfer to the Chinese partners, such as CNR Tangshan Rail Passenger Car, Yongji Electrical Plant, and the Ministry of Railway Research Institute.  Tangshan Locomotive and Rolling Stock Factory produced the remaining 57 trains. The two sets of CRH3 trains imported from Germany were originally called CRH3A, Siemens internally called Velaro CN, the original numbers were CRH3-002A and CRH3-004A, and later changed to 002C and 004C. The first group of imported trains held a grand handover ceremony in Kohlerfeld on December 12, 2007. It was loaded and shipped in Bremen, Germany at the end of December 2007, and arrived in Tianjin, China in January 2008.

The domestic CRH3 EMUs manufactured by Tangshan Rail Passenger Cars in China are called CRH3C. Up to now, 80 sets of relevant railway bureaus have been manufactured and distributed, numbered CRH3001C to CRH3080C. Its structure is exactly the same as that of imported cars.

The first domestic CRH3C (CRH3C-3001) manufactured by Tangshan Railroad Coach made a maximum speed of 394.3 kilometers per hour on the test of Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway at 9:13 on June 24, 2008.

CRH3F: CRH3F is a 160km/h intercity EMU designed and manufactured by Tangshan Rail Bus Co., Ltd. CRH3F EMU uses aluminum alloy lightweight welded car body.

CRH3G: CRH3G is a CJ platform (intercity EMU) dominated by the former CNR. It is based on Siemens technology and CRH3C EMU as a prototype. It absorbs the advantages of CRH380B, CRH380C series EMUs and CRH5A EMUs. EMU platform with independent intellectual property rights. Developed by Tangshan Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co., Ltd., only one column is trial-produced, and the serial number is CJ2-0303.

CRH3G can be operated at three levels of maximum operating speeds of 160km/h, 200km/h, and 250km/h according to the needs of different operating lines such as main-line high-speed railways and intercity railways. The CJ platform EMU also has strong cost advantages and after-sales maintenance advantages.

CRH3X: CRH3X is divided into 250km/h speed platform and 350km/h speed platform. At present, this model has only one prototype which is being tested in Tangshan factory.


CRH3A: based on CRH3 EMU and CJ1 EMU (a prototype). It is manufactured by CRRC Changchun Railway Passenger Car Co., Ltd. It is designed to be able to adapt to 160-250km/h passenger dedicated line and intercity railway operation.

On December 6, 2017, the CRH3A EMU was officially operated with the opening of the Xicheng Passenger Dedicated Line. After a few months of operation, due to insufficient power of the locomotive, it could not adapt to the long ramp of the West Chengdu Passenger Dedicated Line. The CRH3A of the Chengdu Bureau Group was successively transferred to other lines of the group, and all CRH3A attached to the Xi’an Bureau were transferred to the Chengdu Bureau.

As of January 2018, CRH3A has put into operation a total of 59 groups, including 28 long passenger production and 31 car production.

CRH5 – The Alstom partnership

Developed from the Alstom “New Pendolino” series. In 2004, a contract was signed with Alstom and in 2007 3 train sets produced by Alstrom were shipped to China. Later units were built/assembled locally in China by Changchun rail passenger cars through French technology transfer. These high-speed trains were then officially designated as CRH5A. Production continues in China with over 200 train sets having been put into service. The designed operating speed is 250 km/h.


CRH5A: It was first put into service on April 18 2007 on the Beijing-Harbin line.

CRH5E: this train is the first high-altitude sleeper EMU in China. CRH5E has served as D335/D336 trains from Beijing Station to Qingdao North Station since January 2019.

CRH5G: can operate at minus 40 ℃, and has the ability to resist wind, sand, rain, snow, fog, ultraviolet and other severe weather. In 2017 it went into operation on the Baolan High-speed Railway.

CRH5H: is designed for sandy conditions, high ultraviolet conditions, and temperature extremes.  It was put into service on the Lan-Xin Railway. Operating speed is 200km/h and 300km/h capable.

CRH5 EMUs have become the main train for 200-250km/h operation replacing the CRH1/2.

CRH6 – China CSR Sifang Co., Ltd

CRH6 EMU is suitable for short-distance commuter passenger transportation between cities and between urban and suburban areas, and meets the operational requirements of large passenger capacity, rapid boarding and landing, and quick start and stop. CRH6 EMUs were developed by CSR Sifang and were rolled off the production line in Qingdao in 2012.


CRH6A: 200 km/h and is used between Guangzhou and Shenzhen, Guangzhou-Zhuhai Intercity Railway, Guangzhou-Zhaoqing Intercity Railway, Wan Hui intercity rail,  Chengdu-Guanguan Railway with variants on the Shanghai Jinshan Railway and Beijing Sub-Center Line.

CRH6F: 160 km/h and is used on the Changsha-Zhutan Intercity Railway, Hainan Donghuan Railway, Ningbo-Yuyao intercity railway.

Municipal EMU: 140km/h and is in use on the S1 line of the Wenzhou Municipal Railway.

As of November 2019, a total of 111 CRH6 series EMU trains have been shipped from the factory.

CRH380 – Various Manufacturer

The Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China and the former Ministry of Railways jointly signed the “China Joint Action Plan for Independent Innovation of High-Speed ​​Trains” on February 26, 2008, and the CRH2-380 high-speed EMU was the most important project of the joint action plan.

In June 2009, the Ministry of Railways invited manufacturers to bid for 320 domestic high-speed EMUs with a speed of 350 kilometers per hour. CSR Sifang Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co., Ltd. was one of the successful bidders.


CRH380A: The development project of Sifang’s high-speed EMU with a speed of 380 kilometers per hour is CRH380A (or CRH2-350), which is based on the second phase of CRH2C (CRH2-300). Continuous operating speed is 380 km/h, maximum operating speed is 400 km/h, and maximum test speed is 496 km/h or more.

In May 2010, Sifang demoed a customized a 1:1 physical model of a CRH380A head car, which was exhibited at the China Railway Pavilion of the Shanghai World Expo and was unveiled until the end of the World Expo.

In September 2010, CRH380A-2501 – CRH380A-2510 entered the Shanghai-Nanjing High-speed Railway and Shanghai-Hangzhou High-speed Railway for high-speed tests.

On September 28, 2010, CRH380A conducted high-speed tests on the Shanghai-Hangzhou Passenger Dedicated Line. At 10:40 a.m. on that day, the trial speed of the CRH380A-2501 train from Shanghai Hongqiao to Hangzhou was 413.7 km/h. Less than an hour later, at 11:37, on the way back from Hangzhou to Shanghai Hongqiao for trial operation, the top speed reached 416.6 km/h.

From October 26, 2010, CRH380A officially entered service on Shanghai-Hangzhou Passenger Dedicated Line. On December 3, 2010, CRH380A began in Wuhan-Guangzhou passenger operation.

On April 16, 2012, CSR Group officially signed a contract with the Hong Kong MTR Corporation to implement the purchase of 9 EMUs based on CSR Sifang CRH380A new-generation high-speed train technology platform for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Railroad. The first train was delivered on September 23, 2016 and went into service on September 23, 2018.


CRH380B: CRH380B EMU is a new generation of high-speed EMU based on CRH3C. Compared with CRH3C, the continuous operation speed is increased from 300 km to 350 km, the maximum design speed is increased from 350 km to 380 km/h, and the maximum test speed is 400 km/h.


CRH380C: The CRH380C EMU is a new generation of high-speed EMUs developed on the basis of CRH3C and CRH380BL. Compared with CRH3C, the continuous operating speed is increased from 300 km to 350 km, and the maximum design speed is increased from 350 km to 380 km.


CRH380D: uses the Bombardier ZEFIRO 380 ultra-high-speed EMU as the technology platform, with a nominal operating speed of 380km/h, a maximum operating speed of 400km/h, and a maximum test speed of more than 480km/h.  As of August 2016, 85 CRH380D series EMUs have been shipped from the factory and belong to the Shanghai Bureau Group and the Chengdu Bureau Group.



The prototype of the CJ1 train is derived from the CRH380B platform and is led by China CNR Corporation Limited (CNR). It is designed and produced by Changke AG, a subsidiary of CNR, and was unveiled on the June 8, 2013. The CJ1 EMU is based on the CRH380BL technology platform, and draws on the advantages of CRH380BL, CRH380CL , CRH380B , CRH5 EMUs, and developed independent intellectual property rights EMUs. The CJ1 EMU can operate at three speed levels of 160 kilometers per hour, 200 kilometers per hour, and 250 kilometers per hour according to the needs of different operating lines.

CJ5 Hybrid


The CJ5 hybrid EMU is a power-dispersed hybrid EMU developed by CRRC Changchun Railway Passenger Car Co., Ltd. , which can choose from three types of power supply: external electric supply, battery power supply, and internal combustion engine. In the external power mode, the maximum train speed is 160km/h; in the internal combustion engine/battery mode, the maximum speed is 120km/h.



CJ6 type EMU is made by Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co., Ltd. It is designed for 160km/h operation as an intercity EMU. The basis for this EMU is for export (to Malaysia and Macedonia), and for use on the Changsha–Zhuzhou–Xiangtan intercity rail.

CR Rejuvenation (Fuxing) EMU (复兴号电力动车组)

The Fuxing EMU train, or Chinese Standard EMU, is the very latest addition to China’s train fleet. It is developed by the China Railway Corporation and is promoted as having fully independent intellectual property rights belonging to China.

Note, while Harmony model trains used the CRH prefix, Fuxing trains use only CR.

Fuxing Models


CR400AF: Power decentralized train with an operating speed of 350km/h, manufactured by CRRC Qingdao Sifang Locomotive and Rolling Stock and Qingdao Sifang Bombardier Railway Transportation Equipment.

CR400AF in silver and red livery

CR400BF: Power decentralized train with an operating speed of 350km/h, manufactured by CRRC Changchun Rail Passenger Car and CRRC Tangshan Locomotive.

CR300AF: Power decentralized train with an operating speed of 250km/h. It is manufactured by CRRC Qingdao Sifang Locomotive.

CR300BF: Power decentralized train with an operating speed of 250km/h. It is manufactured by CRRC Changchun Rail Passenger Car.


CR200J: power centralized train, operating speed of 160km/h, made by Nanjing Puzhen Rolling Stock, Qingdao Sifang Locomotive, Tangshan Rolling Stock, Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive, Datong Electric Locomotive car, Dalian Locomotive Vehicle manufacturing.

Fuxing Development Timeline

In 2012, led by the China Railway Corporation and the China Academy of Railway Sciences, the CRRC (a merger of China’s CNR and CSR loco manufacturers) began the development of China’s standard EMUs.

On July 15, 2016, the “Fuxing”, as it would be later known, was tested on the Zhengxu High Speed ​​Rail at a speed of more than 420 kilometers per hour.

On June 25, 2017, China Standard EMU was officially named “Fuxing”.

On June 26, 2017, the two-way launch of the Fuxing at Beijing South Station and Shanghai Hongqiao Station at both ends of the Beijing-Shanghai High Speed ​​Rail.

From April 10, 2018, the railway implemented a new train map, and the number of Fuxing EMUs increased.

On June 26, 2018, the Fuxing EMU has been in service one year and carried 41.3 million passengers.

From July 1, 2018, the national railways implemented a new train schedule, and 16 more Fuxing EMUs were put into operation.

Beginning August 8, 2018, all Beijing-Tianjin intercity will be replaced with Fuxing high-speed rail trains with an operating speed of 350 km/h on the Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway.

From June to September 2018, the China Railway Corporation organized the CTCS3 + ATO train control system test of the Beijing-Shenzhen comprehensive test section, and the Fuxing achieved automated driverless operation at a speed of 350 km/h.

In October 2018, 17 super long version of the Fuxing was unveiled, with a body length of 439.8 meters and a capacity of 1,283 passengers.

On December 24, 2018, new Fuxing models were introduced, including 350/250/160 km/h versions.

On January 5, 2019, the new CR200J type Fuxing train will also gradually replace traditional ordinary speed trains on the Beijing-Shanghai line.

On August 8, 2019, the first C8802 Fuxing train from Urumqi to Korla departed from Urumqi Station, marking that Xinjiang has also entered the era of the Fuxing train.

On August 16, 2019, Dali to Lijiang launched the Fuxing EMU for the first time.

On September 20, 2019, China Railway Investment Co., Ltd. released three tenders for the 350km/h Fuxing EMU procurement project, including 768 for 16 marshallings, 170 for 17 marshallings, 40 will be used for the formation of 8 alpine vehicles, for a total of 978 vehicles.

Fuxing Train features

Compared with the CRH series of the Harmony, the Fuxing high-speed EMU has the following major upgrade points:

Longer life
The Fuxing has been evaluated for 600,000 kilometers of use, which is 200,000 kilometers more than European standards. The design life of the Fuxing is expected to be 30 years, while the Harmony model is 20 years.

Streamlined body
Low-resistance streamlined head and smooth body design have reduced the resistance of the train by up to 12.3% compared with the existing CRH380 series. During operation, the energy consumption per capita of 100 kilometers decreased by about 17%.

Higher safety
Fuxing has an intelligent sensing system with more than 2,500 monitoring points, which is about 500 more than previous models. The temperature of the cooling system, the state of the braking system, and the environment of the guest room are monitored in all directions in real-time. It can collect more than 1,500 items of various vehicle status information to provide comprehensive fault diagnosis and maintenance support. In addition, when the train is abnormal, it can automatically alarm or warn, and can automatically limit speed or stop measures according to the safety policy. A collision energy absorption device is also added at the connection between the head of the car and the carriage. When an accidental collision occurs during low-speed operation, the device can be deformed to improve the passive protection ability of the EMU.


Credits and Sources

  1. 和谐号电力动车组
  2. 复兴号电力动车组
  3. CRRC
  4.  中国国家铁路集团有限公司