China finally inaugurated what claims to be the fastest train in the world. Developed by the Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRSC), the train manufactured in Qingdao City is capable of reaching a maximum speed of 600 kilometers per hour.
Liang Jianying, deputy general manager and chief engineer of CRRC Sifang, told the Chinese media that, in addition to its speed, the train emits low levels of noise pollution and requires less maintenance than traditional high-speed trains.
“Maglev” is an abbreviation for “magnetic levitation”. The train appears to be “floating” thanks to an electromagnetic force that makes it slide over the lines.
The train was tested for the first time in 2020, uses magnetic propulsion technology, which makes it “float” above the lines. By traveling on this train, it will be possible to travel the distance between Beijing and Shanghai, two cities separated by more than a thousand kilometers, in just two and a half hours.
The prototype of the new maglev train was revealed to the media in 2019. That same year, China announced ambitious plans to create “3-hour circuits” between major metropolitan areas.
High-speed rail is one of China’s top priorities, which aims to connect its major cities using the train to reduce the time and expense needed to travel across the world’s most populous country.
Currently, the medium high-speed train in China is around 350 km/h, while planes fly at 800-900 km/h. Convoys like the one unveiled in Qingdao this week could occupy a critical central space.
Despite this debut of this train there are still some things that prevent it from being ready to receive passengers. The lack of complete maglev rail networks is one of the main barriers.
China currently has only one maglev line in commercial use, connecting Shanghai Pudong Airport with Longyang Road station in the city. The 30 km journey takes around seven and a half minutes, with the train reaching speeds of 430 km/h.
New maglev networks are still under construction, including a link from Shanghai to Hangzhou and another from Chengdu to Chongqing. It is expected that in a maximum of 5 years there will already be several maglev lines.