China: The first high-speed magnetic levitation train (maglev) in China left the production line on Tuesday (20), marking the launch of the transport system in the country. It can reach up to 600 km/h of maximum speed, according to the Xinhua news agency.
Introduced in 2016, the Chinese maglev train project had its prototype launched in 2019, carrying out a successful test in June 2020. Using electromagnetic force, it appears to “levitate” above the tracks as it moves, enabling fast travel.
For now, the vehicle only works on one test line within the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) facility in Qingdao, Shandong Province. There are still no maglev lines between Chinese cities, making it impossible to use them at high speeds, but some of them have already started research.
The inaugural model, which runs at the factory, has five wagons. But, according to the project’s chief engineer, Ding Sansan, the trains can work with two to ten cars, each with a capacity to transport more than 100 passengers.
World’s fastest land vehicle
The top speed of China’s maglev train announced by CRRC makes it the world’s fastest land vehicle today. Traveling at 600 km/h, it would be able to travel between Beijing and Shanghai, over 1,000 km, in just 2.5 hours.
By plane, the trip takes 3 hours, while a bullet train completes the journey in 5.5 hours. According to Sansan, the maglev vehicle was designed to fill the speed gap between these two types of transport, providing the best solution for journeys of up to 1,500 km.
High costs and incompatibility with current infrastructure are some of the obstacles for the development of magnetic levitation trains. Despite this, Germany and Japan, among other countries, are also developing maglev networks.