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Maglev, New High-Speed Train Prototype

China wants to take its transport system to the next level. It wants to cut down the commute time and provide a hassle-free commute to the people throughout the nation.

To turn this dream into a reality, on 23rd May 2019, the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), raised the curtain of a new version of a high-speed magnetic train. This train uses magnetic levitation and can achieve a speed of 600 km/h or 372 miles per hour. The train is better known as “Maglev”.


The prototype which has achieved the static levitation is still under trial and is expected to be in operation by the second half of the year.

The existing trains in China already run at high speeds of 350 km/h, and speed of commercial aeroplanes is 900km/h. The new high-speed trains will operate at a speed of 600km/h, thereby, bridging the gap between the existing transportation modes.

Inside China's new prototype magnetic levitation train with a top speed of 600 km/h. Photo: Xinhua

How does Maglev Work?

The Maglev, uses the magnetic levitation, hence the name. It is designed in such a manner that it floats on cushions which are magnetically powered. This train does not use traditional wheels and tracks. The first maglev with speed up to 430 km/h, was launched in 2002 at Shanghai. The technology used in this was German and connects Shanghai Airport to a subway station.

Deputy Chief Engineer, Ding Sansan did some theoretical calculations on the journey between Beijing and Shanghai. He did this to compare how he can decrease the travel time. As per his calculations, one takes around four and a half hours along with the preparation time by planes and approximately five and a half hours by the trains. He claims that the Maglev would take only three and a half hours for the same distance.

China is not the only country who have tried their hand at maglev. In the year 2015, Japan experimented with maglev which reached up to a speed of 603 km/h. They plan to launch these for operation by 2027.

While comparing a maglev with bullet trains, the maglev definitely wins the comparison with advantages like decrease in vibrations, noise maintenance cost and higher passenger capacity.

Source: YouTube

Currently, the Maglev trains operate in Germany, China and Japan. With the success of these trains, India may soon get it’s maglev as well. The Ministry of Railways has shortlisted the following routes: Bengaluru – Chennai, Nagpur – Mumbai, New Delhi – Chandigarh and Hyderabad – Chennai. Though India’s first Bullet Train is already under construction a Maglev train would be more than welcome!


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