It’s fast, very fast.
In fact, it is the fastest train the world.
Capable of speeds up to 600 km/h ( (373 mph), China’s high-speed Maglev electric bullet train could very well close the gap between rail-based trains with a maximum speed of 350 km/h and aircraft with a flight speed of 800 to 900 km/h.
Unveiled recently in Qingdao, a port city in east China’s Shandong Province, the Transrapid system will one day become the new basis of rail transport in China, Germany’s EFahrer.com reported.
And while the manufacturer, the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), claims it is a purely Chinese product, in fact, the patent comes from Germany.
As the name suggests, the train hovers over the actual railway line by means of magnetic force, and, is also moved by strong magnetic forces.
Since there is no braking friction between the rails and the vehicle, the train can reach higher speeds, the report said. The only thing stopping it from going even faster, is air resistance.
That is why research is currently being carried out on tracks that run in a vacuum and float on routes that work with superconductors. Experts say that train could reach incredible speeds of 1,000 km/h.
Maglev trains, meanwhile, are the future of China because they are quieter, more reliable, have low vibration and have a large passenger capacity, said Liang Jianying, deputy general manager and chief engineer of CRRC.
Another advantage of such railways: There is no noise pollution from aircraft, and the same applies to the huge space requirements at airports. Because unlike airplanes, the trains can start in the center of the city.
However there’s one thing keeping this train from being ready to greet commuters — a lack of completed Maglev track networks.
Currently, China only has one Maglev line in commercial use, connecting Shanghai’s Pudong Airport with the Longyang Road station in the city, the report said.
The 30 km (19 mile) journey takes about seven and a half minutes, with the train hitting speeds of 430 km/h (267 mph).
Several new Maglev networks are reportedly under construction, including one linking Shanghai and Hangzhou and another connecting Chengdu and Chongqing.
But it could be between five to ten years, before regular service is launched, rail officials said.
The massive expansion follows ambitious plans set by China’s government, which has set a goal of “three-hour transport circles” between China’s major cities.
In terms of the actual travel time, the train should in future be the fastest means of transport in the range of up to 1,500 kilometers.
A journey from Beijing to Shanghai takes about 2 hours by plane, 5.5 hours by high-speed train, and only about 2.5 hours by Maglev train, the report said.
Countries such as Japan to South Korea are also looking to build Maglev networks, although high costs and incompatibility with current track infrastructure remain hurdles to rapid development.
Sources: EFahrer.com, CNN Travel, Stern Magazine, Reuters