China scientists claim 1,200 kph train

China scientists claim 1,200 kph train

Scientists in China say they have developed a maglev train capable of going faster than many planes
maglev train china
The dead bugs on the front of this existing maglev train in China had a comparatively slow death.

Scientists in China have developed a model Maglev train that can allegedly travel as fast as an airplane, Chinese media has reported.

The Global Times reported yesterday that a vacuum magnetic suspension train was able to run from 600 up to 1,200 kilometres per hour at the Traction Power State Key Laboratory at the Southwest Jiaotong University. That's the speed of a plane, according to the university's Traffic School vice dean Shuai Bin.

Shuai said that with the new technology, passengers can travel from Beijing to Guangzhou in less than two hours. The same journey takes three hours by plane. 

Maglev is derived from the term magnetic levitation, which refers to how trains are lifted up and pushed forward by magnetic forces over a guide way. A "vacuum" Maglev train has vacuum tunnels that eliminate air friction, which can slow trains down. 

If what Shuai says is true, China would have developed the world's fastest ever Maglev train. Prior to this, the record holder was Japan, whose JR-Maglev trains travel at 581 kilometers per hour.

Theory vs. practice

Chinese publication Science Pictorial reported that the new Maglev technology will go into operation in 10 year's time. It is also expected to be implemented nationwide by 2030.

Science Pictorial claims that the vaccum Maglev technology theoretically can allow trains to run up to 20,000 kilometers per hour.

However, other Chinese scientists have cast doubt on the affair.

"Developing a vacuum Maglev train is a complete scientific fantasy. It is impossible to develop a vacuum Maglev train at a speed of 20,000 kilometers per hour technically and economically," Beijing Jiaotong University professor Wang Mengshu told the Global Times.

This news comes amongst scepticism about how China's train technology is nothing original. At the announcement that the new Shanghai-Beijing bullet train has broken a world speed record in December last year, a Wall Street Journal article remarked that “trains remains more or less identical to the technology foreign companies provided [to China] originally half a decade ago.”

Read more: Shanghai-Beijing train breaks world speed record