China Has a New High-speed Bullet Train — and There’s No One Driving It

China recently unveiled a brand-new bullet train, connecting Beijing with the city of Zhangjiakou, where many of the 2022 Winter Olympics events will be held.

The new high-speed train will reduce travel time between the two cities from three hours to just 47 minutes, CNN reported. It is also said to be the world’s first train that can run up to 350 kilometers per hour (or 217 mph) without a driver (a monitoring driver will be on board in case of emergencies).

The Jing-Zhang high-speed railway took about four years to build, according to CNN, and will join Beijing, Yanqing, and Zhangjiakou. It will have 10 different stations, including Badaling Changcheng, where people can access the Great Wall of China.


The new train comes as Beijing continues to prepare for the 2022 Winter Olympics. China's capital is set host events like skating, curling, ice hockey, and freestyle skiing, according to the The International Olympic Committee. Meanwhile, Zhangjiakou will see snowboarding, freestyle skiing, cross-country skiing, and ski jumping, and Yanqing will host alpine skiing as well as bobsleigh, skeleton, and luge events.

As for the design, some cabins feature large storage areas for winter sports equipment, in addition to special storage for athletes' stimulant test samples.

"[The trains] can improve the efficiency of our work, promote China's winter sports, and boost the ice and snow economy," Yang Yang, a Winter Olympics speed skating gold medalist, told state-run media Xinhua, according to CNN.

The trains are considered “smart” with 5G-equipped signals, intelligent lighting, and 2,718 sensors to identify any problems in real time. Each seat also has its own touch-screen control panel and wireless charging docks, according to the network.

Robots and facial-recognition technologies will be used in stations for everything from directions to paperless check-in.

The Chongli railway, a branch of the Jing-Zhang railway, is also open and will take people from Beijing to Taizicheng Station, which CNN reported is “a stone's throw” from the Olympic Village.