China on Thursday restored the maximum speed of bullet trains on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway line to 350km per hour, making it the fastest commercially run train, six years after it reduced the speed due to a fatal accident.

The speed was reduced to 300km per hour following the deadly accident in July 2011 that killed 40 people. A Fuxing bullet train departed Beijing south railway station at 9am for Shanghai. The speed hike will cut the 1,318km Beijing-Shanghai journey to 4 hours 28 minutes, cutting the train time by nearly an hour.

The China Railway Corp. which runs the train said last month that it will be the world’s fastest commercially-used bullet train. China started to run its first 350km per hour high speed train between Beijing and Tianjin in August 2008 and opened at least three more such high-speed lines nationwide in the following years.

But it has reduced the speed to 250km per hour to 300km per hour after a major accident in July 2011. Forty people were killed and over 190 injured when two high-speed trains travelling on the Yongtaiwen railway line collided on a viaduct in the suburbs of Wenzhou, Zhejiang province.

The Fuxing trains were unveiled in June and are capable of top speeds of 400km per hour, state-run Xinhua news agency reported earlier. On 27 July, the Fuxing trains were tested for safety and reliability at maximum speed. From 21 September, these trains will make seven round trips each day.

The trains are entirely designed and manufactured in China, led by the China Railway Corporation. China holds complete intellectual property rights on the trains. China has the world’s longest high-speed rail network of over 22,000km, about 60% of the world’s total, the report said.

About one-third of China’s high-speed railways were designed to allow trains to run at a speed of 350km per hour, according to He Huawu of the China Academy of Engineering. China is lobbying with India build a high speed train in the New Delhi-Chennai sector for which it is conducting a feasibility study.

Japan grabbed India’s first contract to build the high speed train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad for which the foundation stone was laid recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. PTI

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