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China Rolls Out New Train Prototype

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

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Magnetic levitation technology—also known as maglev—is the spine of new high-speed rail research in China, according to reports. The train prototype was released off the assembly line earlier this month.

If things go according to plan, passengers will be carried at 370 miles per hour, more than 150 mph faster than the world’s fastest trains implemented in service between cities, which reach 217 mph operating between Beijing and Shanghai.

According to NBC, state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation is serving as the developer on the project. The train is slated to begin service in 2021, but extensive testing has yet to be conducted.

High-Speed Rail History

According to CNN, maglev trains use magnetic repulsion to lift the train, which both reduces friction and helps move it. CRRC deputy chief engineer Ding Sansan told the outlet that, concluding three years of technical research, now a lightweight, strong train body was helping to pave the way for a handful of engineering prototypes.

Sansan also noted that customarily, a trip from Beijing to Shanghai would take around four and a half hours by plane, an hour could be shaved off by taking the maglev train.

Maglev trains are also known for reducing noise as well as vibration, a relief for workers, passengers and those who live near the infrastructure. This endeavor is also not a world first: A demonstration train, open since 2002, has been taking passengers from the perimeter of Shanghai to the area airport.

Moving Forward

According to the South China Morning Post, mass production of the train will likely occur by 2021. Even with this optimistic view, Beijing Jiaotong University professor of economics Chen Peihong noted that the market needed to grow, emphasizing that technology “alone cannot make [the concept] a success.”

Other cities in China have also considered using maglev lines, but the longest, connecting Jinan and Taian, would not run longer than 50 kilometers (around 31 miles). There are also concerns over electromagnetic fields from the maglevs, which are stronger than those that power more traditional high-speed trains.

CRRC Qingdao Sifang, a subsidiary of the CRRC, is currently working on building an experimental center and a maglev trial production center. Both are slated to be in operation in the second half of this year.


Tagged categories: AS; China; Infrastructure; Program/Project Management; Rail; Research and development; Urban Planning

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