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[Science and Technology Daily] Electric Locomotive Drives China's Train to Enter a New Era

Source:Science and Technology Daily DateTime:2019-01-28

Recently, China Railway Science and Technology Innovation Achievement Exhibition was hosted in Beijing by China Railway Corporation, which intensively released new vehicles of Fuxing series with independent innovation and different speed grades, attracting a large number of media to shot and appreciate from different perspectives. People at the exhibition spoke highly of those products.

There is a saying goes that the first thing catching people’s eyes is the face when watching a person, so as for watching a train. Whether a train is eye-catching or not lies in the train face --- the locomotive. Of course, the locomotive should be not only good-looking, but also run well.

On December 27, the symposium for 40/50/60 anniversary of China’s Electric Locomotives was held in Zhuzhou --- Hometown of China’s Electric Locomotives. Reporters was learned that China's modern electric locomotive has gone through 60 years since the first mainline electric locomotive was born. Until now, the electric locomotive plays an important role in China’s modern rail transit.

Product Upgrading: Electric Locomotives not only High in power, but also in Speed.

In the Steam Age before the emergence of electric locomotives, steam locomotives that relied on burning coal as the power could only pull freight trains of 2,000 tons, and diesel locomotives for passengers can run at most 160 km/h merely.

During the 60 years since electric locomotive entered train traction system, china’s train has been tempered be higher both in power and speed. On China’s Datong–Qinhuangdao Line, the heavy-duty locomotive led by China Railway Corporation (formerly the Ministry of Railways) can easily pull trains of 20,000 tons. Now, pulling trains of 30,000 tons by the heavy-duty locomotive is no more a dream. The continuous upgrading of electric locomotive traction technology shortens the time and distance between cities, and also makes the train travel more preferred.

How big the market share of electric locomotive account for? According to the statistics of the National Railway Administration, as of the end of 2017, the number of China’s railway locomotives was 21,000, of which electric locomotives accounted for 59.5%. Under the overall planning of the China Railway Corporation, CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co., Ltd., China’s major producer of electric locomotives, has formed an industrial scale which the annual output of electric locomotives is up to 1,000 sets, and has built the world's largest electric locomotive research and development base. Dozens of types like Shaosan, Hexie, Mandela, and etc., nearly 10,000 electric locomotives, run from Zhuzhou to the whole country, and to the world.

40, 50, 60: Years of Burning Passion for Electric Locomotive

“The year of 2018 is very special for Chinese railway people. It marks the 40th anniversary of the transformation of China's first professional electric locomotive manufacturer, the 50th anniversary of first manufacturing domestic electric locomotive of Shaoshan, and the 60th anniversary of successfully developing China's first main-line electric locomotive.” Zhou Qinghe, chairman of CRRC ZELC, affectionately interpreted the commemorative significance of the year of 2018 for the development of China’s electric locomotives.

In 1958, under the leadership of the former ministry of railways, China's first mainline electric locomotive jointly developed by Zhuzhou Locomotive Factory and Xiangtan Electric Locomotive Factory rolled off the assembly line, marking the beginning of the electric age of railway locomotives in China.

In 1968, No.008 of type 6Y1 electric locomotive carrying the dream of China’s electric locomotive was successfully rolled off the assembly line in Zhuzhou. A landmark of an important node in China's railway history was named Shaoshan by the former Ministry of Railways. The same year, electric locomotives of Shaoshan series began to run across China, becoming a symbol of the era of China's railway locomotives.

In 1978, under the guidance of development strategy of developing both diesel and electric power and focusing on electric power for locomotives by the former Ministry of Railways, Zhuzhou Locomotive Factory made a comprehensive transformation of specializing in electric locomotives and became China’s first professional electric locomotive research and development enterprise, laying a solid foundation for the development of domestic electric locomotive. Besides, China's first AC drive electric locomotive, China's first export of electric locomotive, the world's most powerful electric locomotive, and etc., was born in Zhuzhou successively.

After the development of "40,50,60", China's electric locomotive has fulfilled the four historic transitions——from common load to heavy load, from common speed to high speed, from introduction to export and from DC drive to AC drive.

Electric Locomotives Brings Golden Industry

The development of electric locomotive advanced the establishment of rail transit industry cluster.

Taking CRRC ZELC as an example, after the rapid development of electric locomotive industry, ZELC began the way of refinement development and separated rail transit equipment enterprises of CRRC Zhuzhou Institute Co.,Ltd, CRRC Zhuzhou Electric Co.,Ltd, CRRC  Zhuzhou Investment Holding Co., Ltd., Zhuzhou Lince Group Co.,Ltd, Zhuzhou Gofront Equipment Co. Ltd., etc.. With the emergence of related supporting enterprise, Hunan rail transit equipment industry cluster was gradually formed. By 2015, this industry cluster has already become a "big MAC" and first realize output value of 100 billion of its kind. In addition, the electric locomotive and its related technology also gradually spread from Zhuzhou to Yongji, Datong, Dalian, Ziyang and other places across China.

It is reported that CRRC ZELC, leading enterprise of electric locomotives, has formed the "3+X" industrial layout of "electric locomotive, mass transit vehicles and EMUs\DMUs + emerging industry” and the global layout of "1+Y" industrial base. The electric locomotives also brought export orders of tangible value up to 53.5 billion yuan to CRRC ZELC.

(Reporter / Huiyou YU)