The Chinese Put the Fastest Maglev Train in the World on Rail

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

China has unveiled the world’s fastest maglev train to be used in a commercial line, capable of reaching a top speed of up to 600 km/hr (373 mph). The train was designed and manufactured entirely by Chinese engineers in the coastal city of Qingdao, a 6.2 million people city that hosts many of the country’s most aspiring engineering projects, being a major seaport with an important naval base.

The particular train would need only 2.5 hours of travel time to take its passengers from Beijing to Shanghai, covering a total distance of 1,000 km (620 miles). A high-speed rail would need 5.5 hours for the same trip, while an airplane could do it in 3 hours. This means that the new maglev train is even faster than most commercial aircraft, so it would be the swiftest choice. The only problem is, there are no inter-city or inter-province lines in China to allow such a trip to take place.

Maglev trains rely on electromagnetism to levitate above a special line that is powered with electricity. By removing all contact points between the train and the line, maglevs can enjoy friction-less motion, which is precisely what enables them to reach such astronomical speeds and to do so in a safe manner and free of noise and vibrations.

So far, China has tested maglev trains in limited scenarios, linking short-distance points in urban areas. This new model though is a proof of concept and an omen of what’s about to come in terms of infrastructural planning for the Asian superpower.

China is known for undertaking mind-boggling-scale civil and transport engineering projects and completing them in record times, so we expect to see the cogs moving soon. Probably, China’s speedy new maglev train will hit commercial use before the end of the decade.

Bianca Van der Watt

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