CHINA / SOCIETY
Century-old railway gets Winter Olympics upgrade
Published: Apr 29, 2021 04:17 PM
A smart auto-driving bullet train runs on the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway. Photo: Courtesy of Yang Baosen/China Railway Beijing Group

A smart auto-driving bullet train runs on the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway. Photo: Courtesy of Yang Baosen/China Railway Beijing Group


With less than one year till the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, China's first smart high-speed railway that links the Winter Olympics' two host cities—the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway—is ready for the event.

Delving into the original Beijing-Zhangjiakou railway, China's first independently designed railway line, the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway was put into operation in 2019, 110 years after the old one went into operation. The railway is 174 kilometers long, has 10 stations and is covered by China's self-developed BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. 

Smart self-driving trains with a maximum speed of 350 kilometers per hour have been running on the train line. It now only takes less than an hour from downtown Beijing to competition venues in Zhangjiakou.

Chongli railway is a 53 kilometer branch line of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway, with a maximum design speed of 250 kilometers per hour. It connects downtown Beijing with Zhangjiakou Competition Zone. Technologies along the line ensure the security of the event and provide convenience for tourists.

The smart trains running on the branch are equipped with advanced features, such as 5G and wireless charging, and cold-resistant technology makes them adaptable to the -40 C extreme cold environment. Besides, the trains carry more than 2,700 sensors for failure prediction purposes.

Taizicheng railway station, the terminus of the branch, is close to the Olympic village, the National Ski Jumping Center, and the National Biathlon Center. As a key railway station for the Winter Olympics, it takes measures to ensure the event will go smoothly. 

"We have shuttle buses to five ski resorts now, and in the future we will increase the capacity of our shuttle service." Yang Ning, the stationmaster of Taizicheng railway station, said on Monday. "Athletes can take shuttle buses within three minutes of arriving at the transport connection center."

To save time, the station has adopted facial recognition technology at its exits since the end of 2020. Passengers can exit the station without checking their ID cards.

"Taizicheng is the first station that uses this technology along Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway. It is possible to be applied to the whole line," Yang told the Global Times.


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