A new Chinese-developed train, faster than any already in service in the Asian country has just rolled off the assembly line in Qingdao City, in the province of Shandong, it was announced this week.
The mechanism under which this train runs is known as “maglev,” for magnetic levitation, which is friendly to the environment, and can reach a speed of around 600 km/h.
The maglev project was jointly developed by Southwest Jiaotong University, China Railway Group Limited and CRRC Corporation Limited.
The maglev method is the fastest in terms of surface transport within the 1,500-kilometer range, according to a CRRC report. The journey from Shenzhen, in southern China, to Shanghai, which the current high-speed train linking those cities makes in 10 hours, can be reduced to just 2.5 hours.
It is China's latest scientific and technological achievement in the field of railway transport and could bridge the speed gap between high-speed trains and airplanes.
The new train would link Beijing to Shanghai in approximately 3.5 hours, from the currently 5.5 hours on high speed trains or almost 3 hours by plane.
The maglev train glides without contact with the track thanks to the effect of the electromagnetic force, a modality that the Asian country has been testing for two decades on a limited scale. It does not levitate constantly, only when it reaches 100 km/h and begins to produce enough energy to lift it.
Japan currently holds the record for the speed of maglev-powered trains, with a mark of 603 kilometers per hour, recorded on the Yamanashi test line on April 21, 2015.
China's foray into magnetic levitation technology began in October 2016, with a prototype vehicle successfully developed in 2019 and tested in June 2020. Shanghai, China's financial center, is the only Chinese city to operate a commercial high-speed magnetic levitation line, with a maximum speed of 430 km per hour.
China has the largest high-speed rail network in the world, covering 95 percent of cities with a population of more than one million. The country plans to build 200,000 kilometers of railways, 460,000 kilometers of roads and 25,000 kilometers of high-level seaways by 2035.
In world patents related to the maglev train, China ranks first in terms of cumulative number of patent applications by 2021, at 43.52 percent. This is significantly higher than the 20.57 percent of Japan that ranked second.