A prototype magnetic levitation (maglev) train with a maximum speed of 600 kmph has been unveiled by China, which its manufacturers claim to be competitive against the airline industry.
CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of China, has designed the train. It was unveiled on Thursday to the media in the eastern port city of Qingdao.
This prototype is an important project, which has been included in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016–2020) of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology to promote an advanced railway system. The debut of the prototype has been termed as a major breakthrough by China in the high-speed maglev trains scenario.
A Feng Hao, a researcher at the National Development and Reform Commission’s Institute of Comprehensive Transportation, commented that high-speed maglev trains could help bridge the gap between air and high-speed train travel.
He also added that Japan will be China’s biggest competitor in high-speed maglev train technology and bullet train development. The world’s first maglev line, which was launched in Shanghai in 2002, is capable of reaching speeds of 430 kmph. It connects Shanghai Pudong International Airport with a subway station.
High-speed maglev trains offer many advantages as compared to standard bullet trains, such as larger passenger capacity, lower maintenance costs, and reduced vibrations and noise.