China unveils prototype superfast maglev train

The domestically developed maglev train boasts a designed speed of 620kmh. PHOTO: CHINACONSYDNEY/TWITTER

CHENGDU (XINHUA) - A prototype locomotive using high-temperature superconducting (HTS) maglev technology was rolled out on Wednesday (Jan 13) in south-west China's city of Chengdu.

The domestically developed maglev train boasts a designed speed of 620kmh, according to Southwest Jiaotong University, one of the train's designers.

A 165m line to test the new train was launched on the same day.

At the launch ceremony, the 21m-long locomotive was seen floating slowly along the track. Experts hailed the key development of HTS technology emerging from lab tests in China.

"Although the theory sounds good, everyone saw it (HTS maglev technology) as a lab toy in the past, without tests in a real situation," said Mr Deng Zigang, deputy director of the university's research centre for super-high-speed maglev transport in low-pressure tubes.

Compared with other maglev technologies, HTS tech is more suitable for the futuristic concept of superfast transportation in vacuum tubes, where trains could hit speeds of over 1,000kmh, according to experts.

Involving an investment of 60 million yuan (S$12.3 million), the maglev project was jointly developed by Southwest Jiaotong University, China Railway Group Limited and CRRC Corporation Limited.

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