At Beijing's South Station, mostly foreigners are now taking selfies and the express train with its aerodynamically almost perfectly shaped nose. Most Chinese have long been accustomed to the super-train called Fuxing - which means renewal. He now travels many routes in the country. At a speed of around 350 kilometers per hour, the Fuxingderzeit is the world's fastest train in regular traffic.
And soon it should be even faster: On the route between the capital Beijing and the economic metropolis Shanghai, the express train will soon reach a top speed of 400 kilometers per hour. Currently, at 350 kilometers per hour, he covers the approximately 1,300 kilometer long distance in four and a half hours. By comparison, the ICE Sprinter between Berlin and Munich, which reaches a top speed of 300 kilometers per hour, does not need much less time for almost half the distance - almost four hours. At least that is the information of Deutsche Bahn.
When China celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic on Tuesday, it was primarily the rapid modernization of the past three decades that was celebrated. An example of this is the fastest train in the world, as earlier Fuxing models were based not so long ago on foreign technology, such as Siemens or Alstom. However, China's state-owned railway technology company CRRC now holds all necessary patents itself. This also facilitates exports, says the Chinese railway expert Luo Yanyun.
Thus, the Fuxing is an industrial policy achievement of China, as the former world market leaders in railway construction in Japan, North America and Europe until recently could hardly imagine. Within just a few years, the People's Republic has risen to become the world leader in the production of high-speed trains - China, for example, which was a true developing country when it came to rail 15 years ago.
As in the ICE from Kassel to Frankfurt
German companies hardly noticed the Chinese market at that time. For example, in 2002, when China's then Prime Minister Zhu Rongji first asked train manufacturers from Western industrialized countries to offer high-speed trains to their country. At that time, just a tenth of the approximately 68,000-kilometer railway lines in China was electrified, there were no high-speed rail lines, passenger trains chugged through the huge country at an average speed of less than 70 kilometers an hour.
The competition from France, Canada and Japan quickly recognized the market potential. A German consortium led by Siemens was rather hesitant at the beginning - but when the Chinese Ministry of Railways announced in early 2004 that it would first build a high-speed network covering a total of 12,000 kilometers, Siemens was also there.
The first high-speed trains to travel in China from 2008 were: Shinkansen from Japan, TGVs from France and ICE trains from Siemens. At that time, one could feel in the high-speed trains between Beijing and the nearby port city of Tianjin, as on an ICE journey from Kassel to Frankfurt. The seats were blue upholstered, the velor carpet and the wood paneling were exactly the same, even the luggage rack was mounted in the exact same place. It even smelled similar.
Railcars from the Siemens factory
The first three trainsets were still manufactured at the Siemens plant in Krefeld-Uerdingen. The following 57 units - using Siemens components - were already produced at the Chinese partner plant in the northern Chinese industrial city of Tangshan. China's leadership wanted the technology transfer, and for Siemens, the business was still lucrative. The order volume amounted to around 700 million euros.
Siemens also made a strong contribution in the next round of public procurement. In 2009, the Chinese State Railways ordered 100 more trains on the basis of the Velaro technology from the Siemens partner, and the order share for Siemens was around 750 million euros. From Germany electrical equipment was delivered.