The new era of the railway is about to emerge in China with China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation unveiling the latest prototype of a high-speed train that is designed to run at speeds of 370mph using magnetic levitation.
The new train is currently undergoing development by China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation, which is state-owned. The new train will not be running on rails like conventional trains but will employ the use of magnetic levitation for floating above the rails. Thanks to the amazing speed of the train, certain trips might be completed quicker by the train as opposed to flying between destinations.
For instance, Ding Sansan, head of the team that is developing the new train, says that a trip to Shanghai from Beijing will be completed in about three and a half hours – an hour less than what it would take to fly – using the new maglev train. While some are claiming that the train will be ready for service in 2021, there are years of testing ahead of the maglev train before it can carry passengers.
Chris Jackson, editor in chief of Railway Gazette International (based in London), said, ‘The Chinese maglev is very much a research project at this stage. There are no firm plans to develop a commercial route.’ The maglev train technology has been undergoing development for decades. It employs the use of strong electromagnets to levitate the train above the track while providing propulsion, thus taking out friction from the equation.
Apart from the fact that trains using magnetic levitation are faster, they are also more viable since they produce lesser vibration and noise. This is something that will be well-received by those who live near the tracks and have to put up with the noise of trains making their way through. The trains using magnetic levitation also have fewer parts and thus offer enhanced reliability as well.