Thursday, November 25, 2010

`Rail Technology Digest`

In 2010, six years after Japan`s Kawasaki Heavy Industries won its first order for supplying high-speed trains to China, a new world record was announced. A  train called CRH380A clocked 420 km/h (262mph).

`CRH` stands for China Railways High-speed and their officials were quoted saying that all the technology, design and equipment for this train had been created in China.

The Japanese、of course, were livid. To them, the CRH series was just a modified version of JR East`s E2-1000 series, but the Chinese were now saying that the technology had been `digested` and that the new trains are fully indigenous.

Deja vu?

This may be exactly how the Americans & British reacted when they saw  the first Japanese three -cylinder steam-engines. In the 1920s Japan had imported some engines from ALCO (built under license from LNER, UK). These were called Class-8200 or  C52, and some of them were completely dismantled and reverse-engineered into a `new`, `improved` model called the C-53. By 1934, Japanese Imperial Railways in Manchuria - the Mantetsu - inaugurated the "Asia Express", a high speed train from Dalian to the Manchukuo capital of Hsinking. This train had a top speed of 134 km/h (83 mph), and was the fastest scheduled train in Asia at the time.

More recently, Siemens too reacted the same way when they saw the first `GreenMover Max` 100% low-floor light transit vehicles (LF-LRVs) in Japan. In 1998, they had supplied Hiroshima city with their Combino-series, which was, at the time, one of the most advanced tram systems. By 2006 a consortium of Japanese manufacturers (J-Tram) came up with the GreenMover Max. The technology had by now been fully `digested`.

When it comes to international technology transfers, I guess it helps to have a good `digestion` :-)  


Kawasaki Wins High-Speed Train Order for China, KHI News, 20 Oct., 2004

How Japan Profits From China's Plans, Forbes, 26 Oct 2009 -

Bullets and Trains: Exporting Japan’s Shinkansen to China and Taiwan, Christopher P. Hood in Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, 1 March 2007. 

Discussion on CRH Specs - -

262mph train sets speed record in China: China celebrates the new ultrafast CRH380 train., 26 Oct., 2010.

Discussion - CRH380 -

The Japanese C53 Steam Engine -

Overview of Japan`s Modern Steam Locomotives - Saito Akira -

More Details:

Nigel Gresley - First 3-cylinder steam engines

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