News / Brèves
BRICS Silk Road / Route de la soie
Back to previous selection / Retour à la sélection précédente

German-Chinese Work on High Speed Maglev

Printable version / Version imprimable

EIRNS—Cooperation with China is particularly beneficial for Germany’s high-tech sector and pioneer sciences, the joint development of maglev trains being a prominent example. Once these trains can reach speeds of 600 km/hour or more, they can replace a good part of air flights.

In early 2021, a prototype of the “Super Bullet Maglev Train” was unveiled in the city of Chengdu in southwest China. It is expected to reach a top speed of up to 620 km/h. The train was developed by Southwest Jiaotong University, rail construction company China Railway Group Limited, and train manufacturer China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC).

Strictly speaking, the prototype demonstrated in January 2021 is a train with high-temperature superconductor (HTS) magnet technology, according to the university. The temperature is cooled down to a level above which the resistance approaches zero, making the high speeds possible. Moreover, according to media reports, HTS technology is better suited to the futuristic concept of vacuum tubes, in which trains could reach even higher speeds — even 1,000 km/h is conceivable, writes Chinese state news site Xinhuanet.

“The HTS technology can levitate the train without electricity and it can be moved with just one hand,” Xinhuanet quotes Southwest Jiaotong University researcher Deng Zigang as saying. According to the report, when the train was unveiled, a reporter managed to make the locomotive move with one finger.

In addition to the “Super Bullet Maglev Train,” which may, if the test runs are successful, begin running on commercial schedules in the course of this year already, other maglev trains are also being worked on in China. The CRRC in Qingdao has been working on a prototype of a new type of maglev train together with the University of Stuttgart since 2016. The maglev train is expected to reach an operating speed of 550 km/h and a top speed of 600 km/h, the university writes about the project. “This means that the maglev train will one day be the fastest land transport system ever,” it says. A middle section of this prototype already successfully completed test runs in Shanghai in June 2020. [rap]

Read also: The Japanese Maglev train route