A new high-speed transportation system is taking shape in China.
On Thursday, state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) unveiled a prototype for a new high-speed magnetic-levitation — better known as “maglev” — train that could dramatically cut travel times in the nation.
“The prototype has already achieved static levitation and is in ideal condition,” CRCC Qingdao’s deputy chief engineer Ding Sansan said at a news conference, according to a report by China Daily. “We are building an experimental center and a trial production center for high-speed maglev trains and expect to put them into operation in the second half of the year.”
Instead of using wheels and a track, a maglev train floats on a magnetically powered cushion of air. This reduces friction and allows the craft to reach incredibly fast speeds, like the 430 kilometers per hour (267 miles per hour) top speed of a maglev already in operation in Shanghai.
This new design would be able to far exceed the speed of that maglev, reaching a top speed of 600 kilometers per hour (372 miles per hour). Ding used a theoretical journey between Beijing and Shanghai to show how this could dramatically decrease travel times.
“It takes about four-and-a-half hours by plane including preparation time for the journey; about five-and-a-half hours by high-speed rail, and [would] only [take] about three-and-a-half hours by maglev,” he said, according to a South China Morning Post report.