China Launches New High-Speed “Floating” Train, Can Reach 373 MPH


A high-speed maglev train with a top speed of 600 kph (373 mph) has rolled off the assembly line in Qingdao, Shandong Province. Currently, the new train is the fastest ground transportation vehicle in China.

The term maglev comes from combining the words “magnetic” and “levation.” Rather than using fossil fuels, the train is propelled by a magnetic field formed by electrified coils in the guideway walls and the railway. It basically floats on a cushion of air at high speeds.

On July 20th, state-owned CRRC Corporation, China’s official train manufacturer, announced that it launched a high-speed maglev transportation system in the city of Qingdao. Currently, the maximum operating speed of maglev trains in China is 350 kph (217 mph), while the cruising speed of a commercial plane stands between 800 to 1000 kph (497 to 621 mph). According to Chinese media, the new train is designed to bridge the gap between the high-speed railway system and air transportation.

China says that this is the fastest vehicle in the world. However, in terms of maglev technology, Japan’s SCMaglev is still a little ahead. Not only did an L0 series train reach the top speed of 603 kph (375 mph) in 2015, but also exceeded previous Shinkansen world speed records. Perhaps the train launched in China will have an operational speed higher than the one of the SCMaglev. We’ll just have to wait for the updates on the matter.

CRRC notes that the 5-car train has achieved stable levitation and dynamic operation at the CRRC Sifang plant and performed according to the plan. This represents a significant step forward after the successful test run of the high-speed maglev prototype in June last year.

The 600 kph (373 mph) high-speed maglev transportation system will most likely be employed first in high-speed maglev channels, Zhang Xiaoxing, a lecturer of the School of Architecture at the South China University of Technology, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The world’s first 600 km/h high-speed maglev transportation system, the fastest ground transportation vehicle at present, will be launched in Qingdao, China on July 20, 2021.

— CRRC Corporation Ltd (@CRRC_global) July 18, 2021