Last month, a Chinese company announced that it had started work on developing a maglev train capable of operating at speeds of 600 km/h, far faster than anything in operation today.
Well apparently, progress is going so well that they feel confident enough to announce that by 2021 they will have constructed a test line, which will be at least 5 km long, to try out their new invention.
Jia Limin, head of China’s high-speed rail innovation program, also told reporters last week that the company, CRRC Corp Ltd, China’s largest rail transportation equipment maker, eventually plans to construct a high-speed maglev system running from Jinan to Qingdao in Shandong province.
Maglev is short for “magnetic levitation.” Instead of directly running on fossil fuels, these types of trains run on magnets and electric currents, smoothly gliding above the track. CRRC has said that it will need to improve its levitation and traction technology before developing this next generation of maglev train.
China is already currently home to the fastest commercial train in the world — the Shanghai Maglev which takes travelers to the Pudong International Airport. Its top operational speed is 431 km/h.
In fact, we already know that maglev trains are capable of reaching speeds of 600 km/h plus. In April 2015, Japan broke its own speed record with a maglev that topped out at 603 km/h, however commercial operation of these trains is still a long way away, with concerns about the infrastructure cost of building lengthy maglev trains, not to mention obvious safety concerns.
While critics have labeled China’s latest high-speed rail project “dangerous” and “unfeasible,” we say god speed.
[Images via People’s Daily]
Follow Shanghaiist on WeChat