China puts the world’s fastest train on rails

China’s new maglev train. (Photo: Xinhua / News.cn)

China has completed what it claims to be the fastest train in the world. The maglev train should reach a speed of 600 kilometers per hour.

With a top speed of 500 and an operating speed of 430 kilometers per hour, the Transrapid Shanghai maglev train, which was developed in Germany but only operates in China, is the fastest commercially operated train in the world. But it can be done even faster: the Japanese Shinkansen L0 magnetic levitation train achieved a top speed of 603 kilometers per hour in tests. Now China has completed a self-developed magnetic levitation train, which is also supposed to travel over 600 kilometers per hour.

Magnetic levitation will start in 2026 at the earliest

The state news agency Xinhua denotes the (still) nameless magnetic levitation train as “currently the fastest available vehicle in the world”. The train is to run in the future in the service of the state railway company China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRCC), which also on the European market Wants to gain a foothold. However, various tests are still pending before commissioning. The first trains could be in service in five to ten years.

In addition, appropriate routes for the magnetic levitation trains would first have to be built. According to the Chinese government, several major cities and provinces in the country, including Shanghai and Chengdu (Sichuan), have planned fast connections by maglev train, such as Reuters writes. So far, there are no such connections in China. The above-mentioned Transrapid line is only 30 kilometers long and connects Pudong Airport with the Shanghai Exhibition Center. The train, known in China as the Shanghai Maglev Train, takes around seven and a half minutes.

Drive from Beijing and Shanghai in 2.5 hours

The new maglev train could well compete with airplanes over longer distances. The journey between Beijing and Shanghai – a distance of over 1,000 kilometers after all – would be completed in around two and a half hours. It takes around three hours to travel by plane. However, the speed of 600 kilometers per hour should only be reached at the top. For comparison: the Transrapid Shanghai reaches an average speed of only 247 kilometers per hour at a top speed of 430 kilometers per hour, but also has little time to drive fast.

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