The ‘flying train’ would have a top speed of 4,000km/h, compared to the 1,200km/h maximum of Elon Musk’s Hyperloop trains. Photo: Handout

Chinese space engineers want to develop a “high-speed flying train” that can reach speeds of 4,000 km per hour (2,485 miles per hour) in a direct challenge to a similar “Hyperloop” concept pitched by Tesla investor/inventor Elon Musk.

News website Quartz reports that China’s state-run space contractor, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), announced on August 30 that it’s started researching a “high-speed flying train” that is “10 times faster than the world’s fastest bullet train (which is also in China), four times faster than commercial flights, and over three times the speed of sound (1,225 km/h).”

Chinese researchers essentially want to build a passenger pod that uses magnetic levitation and travels through a near-vacuum tube. The approach resembles the Hyperloop, a futuristic high-speed transport system envisioned by Musk in 2013.