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China unveils maglev prototype for the world’s fastest train

China unveils maglev prototype for the world’s fastest train

The train will be able to achieve 620km/h and will be available for use within next ten years

China has built a prototype train that can achieve the speed of 620 km/h. The train was revealed at a 163 meters long test track in Chengdu recently. It uses high-temperature superconducting (HTS) maglev (derived from magnetic levitation) technology uses magnets on the tracks and vehicle to repel one another, resulting in a frictionless surface allows extremely high speeds.

The concept has been around since 1960s but very few trains that actually use the technology exist. HTS technology allows the train to float without the use of electricity and move so easily a person can push it with their hand.

When will it be actually hitting the tracks?

Vice president of Southwest Jiaotong University Professor He Chuan said that the train could be “operational” within three to 10 years. His university is involved in the project.

“Sichuan has rich rare earth resources, which is very beneficial to our construction of permanent magnet tracks, thus promoting the faster development of experiments,” the professor added.

Deputy Director for the Southwest Jiaotong University research project Deng Zigang said that the technology hasn’t been tested in real life situations previously. “Although the theory sounds good, everyone saw it (HTS maglev technology) as a lab toy in the past, without tests in a real situation,” he said.

China’s high speed trains

China has one of the more advanced train systems in the world and has been using Maglev technology since 2003. The first such train links Shanghai Pudong Airport and Longyang Road in the eastern side of Shanghai and travels at a pace of 431km/h.

Last year, China unveiled a new 174-kilometer high-speed railway line connecting Beijing with Zhangjiakou, the city that will host the 2022 Winter Olympics. The travel time is lowered to a mere 47 minutes from the previous three hours as a result.

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