China’s maglev train builder eyes reaching 600 km per hour
China Railway Rolling Stock Corp Ltd, the country’s railway vehicle and equipment exporter, will start researching and developing a magnetic levitation or maglev train that can reach 600 km per hour— the fastest train of its kind currently in service.
The group will build a maglev rail line up to 5 kilometers to test the train. The project will be led by CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co Ltd in Shandong province, one of the country’s three bullet train makers, the company said in a statement.
CRRC will also develop maglev trains with speeds of up to 200 kph at CRRC Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co in Hunan province.
“The goal for these two projects is to establish domestic technology and standard systems for new-generation medium and high-speed maglev transportation that can be applied globally,” said Sun Bangcheng, deputy director of CRRC’s office for major project development.
The total investment in these projects will reach 3.22 billion yuan ($476 million). The government will allocate 433 million yuan, and the remainder will be raised by CRRC.
Compared with other types of urban rail transportation, Sun said maglev trains are quiet and can achieve high speeds because they don’t actually ride on rails with wheels but hover centimeters above the track through the use of magnets, avoiding the slower speeds caused by friction.
The world’s first maglev line was launched in Shanghai in 2002, connecting a metro station to Shanghai Pudong International Airport. With speeds of up to 430 kph, its 30-kilometer route takes less than eight minutes to travel.
Beijing is also currently building a low-speed maglev urban rail route — the S1 line — which will start in northern Beijing’s Haidian district, pass through Shijingshan district and end in Mentougou district in the city’s western outskirts. The 11-kilometer line will become operational by the end of next year.
CRRC will also start research and development of cross-border high-speed trains that can run at 400 kph and alternate between different track gauges ranging from 60 cm to 1.676 meters.
“Such trains will consume 10 percent less energy than the country’s 350 kph bullet trains currently in use,” said Sun Fuquan, a researcher specialized in railway vehicles at the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development in Beijing.
China has seen the rapid development of its high-speed railways in recent years, with their total length exceeding 20,000 kilometers, the world’s longest high-speed rail network.
The country started operation of its first home-grown maglev rail line in May, with trains running at a maximum speed of 100 kph in Changsha, capital of Hunan province, connecting the city with Changsha Huanghua International Airport.