Work on building a 1,000km-long, super-fast magnetic levitation (maglev) railway in China between Guangzhou and Wuhan is expected to start next year, according to local media.
Trains would travel at between 600km/h and a theoretical maximum of 1,000 km/h, cutting the travel time between the two cities from about 10 hours to two.
The maglev system keeps rolling stock hovering above rails, allowing high speeds by removing friction.
The line will be built by the Wuhan-based China Railway Siyuan Survey and Design Group, a subsidiary of China Railway Construction Corporation, the Wuhan Evening News reported, according to the English-language China news site, Thatsmag.com.
Jing Shiyuan, an engineer with Siyuan, told the newspaper that the project was initiated in 2015 and a train model was readied for testing the following year.
Work will start in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital.
China started operating its first maglev railway in 2002, a 30-km-long line between Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Longyang Road Station, but has since concentrated on conventional high-speed rail.
Now, more ambitious maglev plans are taking shape. In May, China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation completed a factory to make maglev rolling stock in Qingdao, and the body of a prototype that could reach speeds of 600km/h was revealed to media. The company hopes to begin serial production of the unit some time in 2021.
And last week a set of technical standards for maglev rail was released by the National Railway Administration, with a view to implementation at the beginning of next year. The standards unify basic technical requirements including track gauge and clarified main specifications of maglev trains.
Image: Guangzhou, pictured, is a city of about 10.6 million, and Wuhan has around 7.5 million people (Chensiyuan/CC BY-SA 4.0)