China is developing a new floating bullet train; it will be capable of hitting speeds of 600 kilometres per hour (about 372 miles/hour). The body prototype for the Maglev train (magnetic-levitation) project was unveiled in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, reports CNN.
The train has been developed by the state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC). It is also the world’s largest supplier of rail transit equipment. The high speed, sleek-looking train will go into commercial production in 2021 after extensive tests.
Maglev trains operate at such high speeds because magnetic repulsion leads to the train levitating from the ground, reducing friction and causing it to propel forward. Other modes of transport, like aircraft, cruise at a speed of 800-900 km/h and trains on the Beijing-Shanghai line have a maximum operating speed of 350 km/h. The introduction of the Maglev train, therefore, will drastically speed up travel.
How the Maglev train will benefit China
Officials are extremely optimistic about the new project; believing that it will completely transform the country’s travel landscape. Thus it would bridge the gap between high-speed rail and air transportation.
Ding Sansa, the CRCC deputy chief engineer, head of the train’s research and development team said, “Take Beijing to Shanghai as an example — counting preparation time for the journey, it takes about 4.5 hours by plane, about 5.5 hours by high-speed rail, and [would only take] about 3.5 hours with [the new] high-speed maglev.”
Developing a high-strength train body took nearly three years of technical research. Ding also revealed that the team had developed a lightweight train body; which will lay the technical foundation for the development of five more sets of Maglev engineering prototypes.
To continue research, development and production of the Maglev train, CRRC Qingdao Sifang — a subsidiary of the CRRC — is also currently constructing an experimental centre and atrial production centre which will begin operations in the second half of this year.