China train biggies eye high-speed maglev train with 373 mph capability

China train biggies eye high-speed maglev train with 373 mph capability

(Tech Xplore)—China has a magnetic levitating train on its mind with amazing numbers. It is, yes, no keyboard error, 373 mph, meant as a commercial rail system.

Xinhua said in October that "A Chinese firm will start researching and developing a magnetic levitation (maglev) train that can run 600 km per hour, which would be faster than any other maglev train currently in operation."

SmartRail World said this is far faster than anything else in operation today.

Max Prince in The Drive earlier this week reported that the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation has in mind a maglev train with 373 mph capability. He said the train would go over a three-mile stretch of track that would be utilized for testing.

Prince added that the CRCC is also developing a second grade of maglev system, and its targeted top speed is 124 mph.

SmartRail World said the Beijing based company is the world's largest rolling stock manufacturer.

Prince described the magnetic levitation technology, as one where "traditional wheel/track is replaced by electromagnets, which both pushes from the rear and pulls from the nose, all on an air cushion."

TNW's Bryan Clark said "The US Air Force currently holds the record for maglev speeds at 633 mph after a rocket-powered sled traveled the distance of seven football fields in all of two seconds." (Andrew Hawkins, who covers transportation for The Verge, said that "Its unclear how long this current record will stand, though, as the 846th Test Squadron say its engineers are already back to the drawing board looking for ways to go even faster.")

SmartRail World noted that maglev technology was initially created by English inventor Eric Laithwaite. Japan is another place showing interest in the technology.

Hawkins said, "Last year, a in Japan reached a speed of 366 mph, breaking a world record that had stood for 12 years. But the train won't be ready for commercial use until 2027, due to the concerns about the infrastructure and costs to build the long tracks."

Then if the costs of construction are far more than traditional diesel-powered trains, why bother showing interest in maglev? Hawkins commented that "maglev is more sustainable and faster, which is why China is so bullish."

Commented Price, "if any nation can create a massive, nationwide maglev network, it's China. The Shanghai-Hangzou high-speed electromagnetic rail link, completed in 2010, was the second-largest public works project in history, after the U.S. Interstate Highway."

A CRCC subsidiary has a role in China's maglev development. (published under auspices of the State Council Information Office and China International Publishing Group in Beijing) earlier this week reported that the CRCC subsidiary is China Railway Maglev Transportation Investment & Construction Co., in Wuhan, Hubei Province.

The latter carries out research on maglev technology for passenger and cargo transportation, along with planning, managing, building and investing in maglev projects.

The report talked about maglev plans. "Lei Jiamin, president of CRMT, said that more than 10 cities in China are currently planning maglev railways. These cities include Changsha, home to China's first maglev line, Qingdao and Beijing." added that "According to CRMT, future low-speed projects will primarily aim to link large cities with their satellite cities, as well as suburbs to downtown areas. They will also be used in second- and third-tier Chinese cities as a substitute for subways."

This is significant considering, according to that report, that "Currently, China has 142 cities with more than 1 million residents, but only around 30 cities have subways."

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