Urban mobility: Knorr-Bremse secures its largest ever multi-system order in Chinese metro history

  • Knorr-Bremse and Chinese train producer CRRC have sealed a major order for braking and entrance systems for Beijing’s new metro line 17, as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) for line 19
  • In total, Knorr-Bremse will deliver systems in the mid double-digit million-euro range for 78 trainsets with a combined 624 cars to CRRC subsidiaries Changchun Railway Vehicles and Sifang in Qingdao
  • In addition, Knorr-Bremse Suzhou’s RailServices unit is to modernize a train of the city of Shenyang’s metro line 2, and Knorr-Bremse’s MERAK-Jinxin HVAC joint venture has received overhaul certification for CRH5G high-speed trains

Knorr-Bremse, the global market leader for braking and other systems for rail and commercial vehicles, has won its largest ever multi-system order for Chinese metro. The company will be delivering braking and entrance systems to equip Beijing’s new metro line 17, as well as HVAC systems for the city’s line 19. With braking system deliveries having started in the third quarter of 2020 and continuing to the end of 2023, Knorr-Bremse will provide technologies worth a mid double-digit million-euro sum for 78 trainsets. Manufactured by Chinese train producer CRRC, the rail vehicles will be operated by Beijing MTR.


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Knorr-Bremse and Chinese train producer CRRC have concluded a major order for braking, entrance and HVAC systems for Beijing’s subway (illustrative image of a Beijing metro train). | © DuKai photographer / Getty

“Knorr-Bremse is geared towards providing future-driven solutions for public transit in order to meet the global megatrends of urbanization and mobility,” says Dr. Jürgen Wilder, Member of the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse AG and responsible for the Rail Vehicle Systems division. “Concluding our largest ever multi-system order in Chinese metro history is a tremendous success for Knorr-Bremse, and it enables us to further strengthen our foothold in the Chinese rail market.”

“Public transportation is essential for the functioning of megacities, and it shapes how millions of people move around urban areas every day,” comments Dr. Jonathan Paddison, Member of the Board of Directors of Knorr-Bremse Asia Pacific. “Therefore, we are all the more pleased to contribute to better mobility by rail, help increase transport capacities and improve passenger comfort for the people of Beijing.”

The contract between Knorr-Bremse and CRRC includes the supply of braking systems featuring EP 2002 brake controls, external sliding door systems with the noise-reducing feature SmartSlide from Knorr-Bremse subsidiary IFE, the global market leader for entrance systems for rail vehicles, and pressure-sealed HVAC systems from MERAK, Knorr-Bremse’s global brand for integrated climate control solutions. Knorr-Bremse will equip 68 trainsets (544 cars) with braking and entrance systems for line 17, and 10 trainsets (80 cars) with HVAC systems for line 19, amounting to 78 trainsets with a combined total of 624 cars.

“Great teamwork and coordination between sales and system, manufacturing locations and our branch office were crucial to winning this project in such an important market”, adds Joseph Han, Managing Director and member of Knorr-Breme’s China board. The contracts for the three systems families that make up the order were concluded over the past quarters. The operator Beijing MTR is a joint venture between Beijing Capital Group, MTR Beijing Line 4 Investment Co., Ltd. and Beijing Infrastructure Facilities Investment Co., Ltd.

Mobility for megacities: Knorr-Bremse system solutions onboard Beijing’s metro

Serving an average daily ridership of 10.35 million people (2019) and with passenger numbers expected to rise over the coming years, Beijing has one of the world’s busiest metro systems. With multiple new lines planned or under construction, its system length of approximately 699 km is set to grow to around 1,000 km. With a length of 49.7 km and top speeds of 100 km/h, the new line 17 is scheduled to start service in 2022. Fully automatic and designed as a rail transit line, it will run through central Beijing and serve large parts of the city’s downtown residents and workforce. By winning Beijing line 17, Knorr-Bremse’s braking systems will now be present in Beijing’s subway fleet on a large scale. In addition, it will be the first time that IFE delivers door systems for the Beijing subway market.

Also operated fully automatically and slated to enter service in 2021, line 19, by comparison, is Beijing’s first subway project with top speeds of 120 km/h. The equipment of line 19 constitutes MERAK’s potential entry into CRRC’s China Standard Metro platform, expanding the existing cooperation between MERAK and the manufacturer in sustainable onboard health and comfort.

With regard to local value creation, a considerable portion of the systems’ contents are designed and manufactured in cooperation with Knorr-Bremse’s presence in China. For example, components for the braking systems are produced by Knorr-Bremse Suzhou and the Knorr-Bremse Nankou joint venture, while the IFE doors are manufactured by IFE-Victall in Qingdao, and the HVAC systems are designed and built in Wuxi.

Knorr-Bremse RailServices: Contributing to high-safety, long-life subway systems

Beyond the Beijing order, Knorr-Bremse’s Suzhou-based RailServices unit has been contracted to modernize a train for the city of Shenyang’s metro line 2 with air supply units. Having entered service in 2012, line 2 is one of only three metro lines that currently connect Shenyang’s urban districts. To meet the expected growth in demand for quick and convenient transport, Northeast China’s largest city by population is planning to extend its subway system to up to ten lines in the coming years.

Knorr-Bremse’s MERAK-Jinxin HVAC joint venture to maintain high-speed trains

In addition, MERAK-Jinxin’s Changchun branch obtained a long-sought overhaul license for HVAC systems installed in Chinese CRH5G A4 high-speed trains from CARS (China Academy of Railway Sciences). It was the first time that MERAK’s Service Center in China independently applied for the certification, which also entails a first six-digit euro-range overhaul order for 25 trainsets, with a combined 200 cars, of China’s prestigious high-speed rail project. With the license granted to the Changchun plant in Northeast China, MERAK-Jinxin is now able to overhaul HVAC units locally, with shorter lead times and reduced costs thanks to higher operational efficiency and throughput.

Urban mobility: Knorr-Bremse secures its largest ever multi-system order in Chinese metro history 
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