Work has been completed in the Chinese city of Qingdao on the body of a prototype maglev train that can reach speeds of 600kp/h, the Xinhua news agency reported last week.
The project is being carried out by China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), the world’s largest supplier of rail equipment, which hopes to begin serial production of the unit some time in 2021.
The prototype will be used to test the technology and systems of a maglev train. So far, it has achieved static levitation.
Ding Sansan, CRRC’s deputy chief engineer and head of the maglev R&D team, said in a statement: "Take Beijing to Shanghai as an example. Counting preparation time for the journey, it takes about 4.5 hours by plane, about 5.5 hours by high-speed rail, but would only take about 3.5 hours by maglev."
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Ding added that CRRC had been working on the scheme for three years, and had succeeded in developing a lightweight, high-strength body that would form the basis for five-carriage prototypes.
Work on the body is being complemented by the building of a maglev test centre in Qingdao, which is on China’s Yellow Sea coast.
In January, CRRC said it was also developing a slower maglev train with a designed speed of 160km/h. According to the company, it has a 30% increase in traction efficiency and can carry six more tonnes in weight compared with the previous generation.
China already has a maglev line operating in Shanghai that travels between Shanghai Pudong International Airport and an interchange with the Shanghai metro. This runs at more than 430km/h, making it the world’s fastest commercial train service.
Image: Inside the prototype’s cockpit (Courtesy of CRRC)