on track

Fast Train From China

China RR
Train production on an assembly line in Zhuzhou. Up until now CSR produced for the Chinese market, but it is now focusing on exports.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Should Chinese train manufacturers make inroads into Europe, that could mean less business for Siemens, Alsthom and other local competitors.

  • Facts


    • Chinese firms are supplying multi-million-euro train systems in Turkey, Macedonia and Belarus
    • China will spend €80 billion to expand its rail network this year, about half of that on urban subway systems.
    • A Chinese train maker, CSR, is building 60 trains with Siemens for the Chinese market.
  • Audio


  • Pdf

Until the 1970s, steam engines were still being built in Zhuzhou, the transportation center in South China’s Hunan province, by workers in grey Mao jackets, who did almost everything by hand.

Since then, a technological revolution has transformed the factory floor of what is now the China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock or CVSR. The flagship products of today are the Maglev urban rail system serving the Chinese capital of Beijing, where trains use magnetic levitation rather than wheels and gears to propel them, and the dazzlingly white, high-speed rail system, where trains can achieve speeds of 380 kilometers per hour, or 236 miles per hour. The workforce has changed, too. The Mao jackets are gone, replaced by robots made by the Austria based-igm Robotic Systems which perform all of the precision spot welding.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.