ContiTech is strengthening its position in China’s railway engineering sector. The Hanover, Germany-based company will supply air spring systems for 50 of the new China Railways CRH1 high-speed trains. The delivery agreement was just signed in the new ContiTech plant in Changshu, China.

“We are a supplier very much in demand. For the Chinese customer it was very important that the air spring systems measure up to a high standard and that they be partially manufactured in China,” says Friedrich Hoppmann, head of the ContiTech Railway Engineering segment.

The trains are being developed by ContiTech’s key customer, Bombardier Transportation, the world’s largest manufacturer of rail equipment, headquartered in Berlin. Its Chinese joint venture, Bombardier Sifang (Qingdao) Transportation (BST), is in charge of delivering the high-speed trains. With the designations CRH1C and CRH1D, the vehicles are based on the latest BOMBARDIER ZEFIRO high-speed technology. The first parts will be delivered to China starting in the fall of 2010. All the trains are to have been built by 2014.

China intends to bolster its position in rail vehicle technology with increasingly efficient high-speed trains. With speeds of up to 380km/h, the CRH1 has a central role to play in this strategy. In line with Chinese government plans, the railway network is to be dramatically expanded by 2020. To achieve this, five trillion yuans (around €548 billion) are being invested. This is all part of the government’s plan to beef up the economy over the long run. At the moment the Chinese railway system is seen to be highly congested.