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World’s Fastest Commercial Train in the Works in Beijing

© AFP 2023 / Toru YAMANAKAThe Maglev
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Chinese researchers announced last month that they were developing a new high speed train system that could reach speeds of 500 kph, but at least one firm feels that is not fast enough.

CRRC Corp Ltd, China's largest rail transportation equipment maker, is currently researching and developing a magnetic levitation (maglev) train that will reach 600 kph, making it the fastest of its kind. Once the vehicle is built, CRRC will test it on a 5-km track. 

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China’s CCTV reports that the train would be able to travel from Shanghai to Beijing, a distance of almost 1,100 kilometers, in a matter of two hours.

Maglev trains are powered by electric current and magnets, instead of fossil fuels. Before the next generation of maglevs can be developed, however, traction and levitation technology will need to be improved, according to CRRC. Even though a Japanese maglev broke national speed records by reaching a speed of 603 kph, commercial use of such a vehicle is still a distant goal.

Already home to the world’s fastest commercial train, the 431 kph Shanghai Maglev, developers plan for a new train to use 35m percent less energy than similar vehicles. 

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China currently has about 20,000 kilometers of high-speed track, the most in the world, and by 2020 it is expected to grow to 30,000 km, and to 45,000 km by 2030. Beijing is also negotiating with other countries to establish rail lines across the globe. The nation is already constructing high-speed rail in Thailand, Indonesia, Russia and Turkey, and hopes to build in Mexico, Southeast Asia, Iran, Australia and the UK.

When the first rails were being laid in other countries, Beijing Jiaotong University professor said during an interview, "China will have the experience to operate high-speed rail networks in the world’s most diverse geographic and climatic conditions, from deserts to alpine plateaus to rainforests…That gives Chinese technology the unique ability to adapt to any condition anywhere in the world," according to South China Morning Post.

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