And just like that, a much-anticipated maglev line has gone into trial operations in Beijing with plans to open to the public later this year.
The new trains for the S1 line float about 1 centimeter above the rails using magnetic levitation technology, reducing friction and making for a faster and smoother ride. It’s China second domestically-developed maglev, as well as the country’s first homegrown automated subway system on the mainland.
Stretching out for 10 kilometers and making eight stops on a 20-minute journey, the maglev line connects Mentougou and Shijingshan districts in the western Beijing suburbs where there currently isn’t a metro operating. It will also link up with Beijing Metro’s Line 1, allowing people living downtown to make easy trips to tourist spots in the west.
China is already home to two maglev lines. One that connects the Pudong International Airport with downtown Shanghai — the fastest commercial train in the world with a top operational speed of 431 km/h. And another that zips passengers in Changsha from the city’s south railway station to the airport at a not as impressive top speed of 100 km/h. This new Beijing line will also run at a leisurely 100 km/h.
Further off in the future, China has announced plans to develop the fastest maglev trains known to man. Trains that can reach 600 km/h and make the trip from Shanghai to Beijing in two hours. Developers hope to have one ready by 2021.
[Images via NetEase]
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