China Plans First 600 Km Per Hour Maglev Train Line


Beijing: China’s biggest train manufacturer has announced it will build a 600 kilometre per hour “maglev” rail line that will be the countries fastest.

Months after Japan announced that its maglev (magnetic levitation) had in a test run created a world record by touching 600 km/hr, China’s CRRC Corporation said it would begin construction on China’s first 600 km/h maglev rail.

The first prototype will be ready by 2020 and the test track will be in the eastern Shandong province, People’s Daily reported

China has the world’s longest bullet train network, which is set to reach 20,000 km, where trains run up to 350 km/hr on wheel-rails. The bullet train network doesn’t use maglev technology, but runs on separate track from China’s other freight and express trains.

A proposal to connect China’s two biggest cities, Beijing and Shanghai, by maglev was shelved and instead a bullet train line was built. It covers the journey – roughly the equivalent of the distance between Mumbai and New Delhi – in a little over four hours, and has been the most successful of the bullet train routes.

There are also two maglev lines in operation within cities, that operate a different “magnetic levitation” technology unlike wheel-rail where the carriages are suspended over track. Maglev trains run faster and silently. The first maglev, which opened in 2003, connects Shanghai’s Pudong international airport with a city station, while the second line in Changsha in southern Hunan went into operation last year. A third line near Beijing connecting two districts is being built.

The People’s Daily reported there had been concerns on the safety of maglev technology because of radiation. Xie Hailin, manager of the maglev branch of CRRC Corporation, told the paper that “electromagnetic radiation inside maglev train carriages is subject to the same limits as radiation in underground carriages”.

“At the same time, compared with underground railways, mid-speed maglev trains consume less energy, cost less, and can be constructed more quickly,” he said.

Maglev, which is derived from the term ‘magnetic levitation’, is a transport method that employs magnetic levitation to move the vehicle without touching the ground. With maglev technology, a vehicle travels along a ‘guideway’ using magnets to create both lift and propulsion. This reduces friction and allows vehicles to move at higher speeds.