High-Speed Train

A prototype for China’s new maglev train was recently unveiled in Sichuan province. The locomotive features high-temperature superconducting (HTS) technology to reach speeds of 620 kilometers per hour (385 mph).

Maglev (magnetic levitation) trains operate using two sets of magnets — one that elevates the train above the track and one that propels it forward. With no friction and no moving parts, maglev trains have the potential to achieve much higher speeds than conventional rail. They are also quieter and smoother.

China has had high-speed maglev in operation since 2003. Covering a distance of about 30 kilometers (19 miles), the Shanghai Transrapid tops out at 430 kilometers per hour (270 mph). Last year, a 174-kilometer (108-mile) line was opened between Beijing and Ziangjiahau in preparation for the 2022 Winter Olympics. According to the designers, the HTS train could become operational in three to 10 years.

For information: He Chuan, Southwest Jiaotong University, 111 N 1st Section, 2nd Ring Road, Sha Xi Mei, Shi Yi Tiao Jie, Jinnui District, Chengdu, Sichuan, China; website: Debut of the world's first high-temp maglev prototype at SWJTU – Southwest Jiaotong University