What’s Behind China’s New Closing Speed ​​Record?

China set a new world record for closing speed between two trains on April 21. This speed of 870 km/h is incredibly fast for trains. But why is this record significant?

The record is for the speed of two “Fuxing” high-speed trains running towards each other. But this is not a crash test in which trains crash and are destroyed.

Instead, the trains run on two separate tracks side-by-side in parallel. Thus, no crashes occurred during the test.

Each train traveled at the speed of 435 km/h during the test. And when they crossed, the combined speed doubled to 870 km/h. This is how the record was set.

It is well known that the high-speed railway (HSR) in China is fast. But why is it important?

The difficult part of the test is between the two trains. When they passed each other at such high speed, the atmospheric pressure between the trains became so high that they could be pushed off the tracks, leading to disastrous accidents.

If you live near train tracks, you should have been warned never to approach a high-speed train. As the train passes, it cuts through the air in front of it, creating chaotic airflows around it, which will probably first pull you away from the train, then, unfortunately, drag you towards the train, resulting in an accident – most time time a mortal.

The same thing happened to the two Fuxing bullet trains when they passed each other. As they were traveling faster than most trains, the air blew even harder.

If you’ve taken a ride on China’s HSR network, which typically operates at speeds below 350 km/h, you may have noticed the short but hard blast of air.

So how did engineers prevent accidents from happening? This is the objective of the record test: to obtain data to study the evolution of atmospheric pressure when trains pass each other at high speed.

Airflow can be difficult to study. There is a specific field called “fluid mechanics” in physics which studies such a phenomenon.

“A total of nine new technologies independently developed by China have been adopted on the test trains this time around,” said Luo Qingzhong, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Railway Sciences.

Jose P. Rogers