New ‘smart’ train in China

This item appears on page 4 of the February 2020 issue.

The “Jing-Zhang” high-speed rail system, with trains reaching speeds of up to 217 mph, began operation in northeastern China on Dec. 30. Traveling 108 miles between Beijing and Zhang­jiakou (two cities that will be hosting Winter Olympics events in 2022), the train makes 10 stops, with a total travel time of 47 minutes.

The trains traveling on the Jing-Zhang route are the world’s first auto-driving “smart” trains, which navigate via satellite positioning. (A “driver” is on board to monitor the systems and take over if needed.) Each train car also has adaptive lighting, internet connections and interactive displays for information. In addition, passengers will be attended to by AI robots.

For nonresidents, tickets for Chinese railways can be booked only in advance through a China-based agency. Fares vary by agency.