The World’s First Commercial Carbon Fiber Subway Train Launched

Carbon Fiber Subway Train 1

On June 26, the carbon fiber subway train “CETROVO 1.0 Carbon Star Express” developed by CRRC Sifang Co., Ltd and Qingdao Metro Group for Qingdao Subway Line 1 was officially released in Qingdao, which is the world’s first carbon fiber subway train used for commercial operation. This metro train is 11% lighter than traditional metro vehicles, with significant advantages such as lighter and more energy efficient, leading the metro train to realize a new green upgrade.


In the field of rail transportation technology, light weighting of vehicles, i.e., reducing the body weight as much as possible under the premise of guaranteeing the performance of vehicles and lowering the energy consumption of operation, is the key technology to realize the greening and low-carbonization of rail vehicles.

Traditional subway vehicles mainly use steel, aluminum alloy and other metal materials, constrained by material properties, facing the bottleneck of weight reduction. Carbon fiber, because of its lightweight, high strength, anti-fatigue, corrosion resistance and other advantages, known as “the king of new materials”, its strength is more than 5 times that of steel, but the weight is less than 1/4 of the steel, is an excellent material for lightweight rail vehicles.

CRRC Sifang Co., Ltd, together with Qingdao Metro Group and other units, tackled key technologies such as integrated design of carbon fiber main load-bearing structure, efficient and low-cost molding and manufacturing, all-around intelligent inspection and maintenance, and systematically solved the problems of engineering application, realizing the application of carbon fiber composite material on main load-bearing structure of commercial metro vehicles for the first time in the world.

The subway train’s body, bogie frame and other main bearing structures are made of carbon fiber composite materials, realizing a new upgrade of vehicle performance, with lighter and more energy-efficient, higher strength, stronger environmental resilience, lower whole life cycle operation and maintenance costs and other technical advantages.

Lighter and More Energy Efficient

Through the use of carbon fiber composite materials, the vehicle has achieved significant weight reduction. Compared with the traditional metal material subway vehicle, the carbon fiber subway vehicle body weight reduction of 25%, the bogie frame weight reduction of 50%, the entire vehicle weight reduction of about 11%, the operation of the energy consumption by 7%, each train can reduce carbon dioxide emissions of about 130 tons per year, equivalent to 101 acres of afforestation.

carbon fiber

Higher Strength and Longer Structural Life

The Subway Train adopts higher performance new carbon fiber composite materials, achieving lightweight while improving body strength. At the same time, compared with the use of traditional metal materials, carbon fiber bogie frame components have stronger impact resistance, better fatigue resistance, extending the service life of the structure.

Greater Environmental Resilience

The lighter body enables the train to have better driving performance, which not only meets the more stringent axle weight restriction requirements of the lines, but also reduces the wear and tear on the wheels and tracks. The vehicle also adopts advanced active radial technology, which can actively control the vehicle wheels to pass through the curve along the radial direction, significantly reducing wheel and rail wear and noise. Carbon ceramic brake discs, which are more resistant to wear and heat, are used to achieve weight reduction while meeting more demanding braking performance requirements.

carbon fiber subway

Lower Life Cycle Operation and Maintenance Costs

With the application of carbon fiber lightweight materials and new technologies, the wheel and rail wear of carbon fiber metro trains is significantly reduced, which significantly reduces the maintenance of vehicles and tracks. At the same time, through the application of digital twin technology, the SmartCare intelligent operation and maintenance platform for carbon fiber trains has realized the self-detection and self-diagnosis of the safety, structural health and operational performance of the whole vehicle, improved the operation and maintenance efficiency, and reduced the operation and maintenance cost. The whole life cycle maintenance cost of the train has been reduced by 22%.


In the field of carbon fiber technology for rail vehicles, CRRC Sifang Co., Ltd, taking advantage of its industrial strengths, has built up a full-chain R&D, manufacturing and validation platform through more than 10 years of R&D accumulation and collaborative innovation of “industry-university-research-application”, forming a complete set of engineering capabilities from carbon fiber structural design and R&D to molding and manufacturing, simulation, testing, quality assurance, etc., and providing a one-stop solution for the whole life cycle of a vehicle. Provide one-stop solution for the whole life cycle.

At present, the carbon fiber subway train has completed the factory type test. According to the plan, it will be put into passenger demonstration operation in Qingdao Metro Line 1 in the year.

carbon fiber metro vehicles

Currently, in the field of urban rail transportation in China, how to minimize energy consumption, reduce carbon emissions, and create a highly efficient and low-carbon green urban rail is the top priority for the development of the industry. This puts forward a higher demand for lightweight technology for rail vehicles.

The introduction of commercial carbon fiber subway train, promote the main bearing structure of subway vehicles from steel, aluminum alloy and other traditional metal materials to carbon fiber new material iteration, break the bottleneck of the traditional metal material structure weight reduction, to achieve a new upgrade of China’s subway train lightweight technology, will promote China’s urban rail transit green and low-carbon transformation, help the urban rail industry to achieve the “dual-carbon It will play an important role in promoting the green and low-carbon transformation of China’s urban rail transportation and helping the urban rail industry achieve the “dual-carbon” goal. 

Post time: Jul-02-2024