Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a… panda? No, it’s China’s first suspension railway!
Last week, China’s first “sky train” completed its inaugural test run on a portion of controlled track in Chengdu. The new trains can hold over 200 passengers and travel at speeds of up to 60 km/h. Testing is currently ongoing on a track that will eventually reach a length of 1.25 kilometers.
In September, China became just the third country to “master” this kind of technology, after Germany and Japan, when its first sky train rolled off the assembly line in Nanjing — after they spent just 4 months designing and completing it. However, this train does have something that makes it different from the rest of the world’s suspension railways — it looks like a panda!
Also, it runs on lithium batteries, which can last for as much as 4 hours. Making it the world’s first battery-powered suspension railway. Yahoo!
According to state media, compared to traditional metros, these type of railways are cheaper and less time-consuming to build and are more environmentally-friendly to boot. One Beijing Jiaotong University professor estimates that it will only take 3 to 5 months to install dozens of kilometers of rail. Experts believe that they are perfect for public transportation in third and fourth tier cities, as well as in scenic spots. China Daily reported that they will make their public debut at a “variety of scenic places” next year.
We bet the “straddling bus” is super jealous right now.
[Images via SCOL.com.cn // Video via Xinhua]