The China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) has claimed that its new magnetically levitated (maglev) train has surpassed its previous record of 623 kilometres per hour (387miles per hour) during tests in a low-vacuum tube just 2 km long. According to the South China Morning Post, while the exact speed reached by the train remains classified, the CASIC said that it had made “a significant breakthrough” with its latest test. It also added that it was the first time the ultra-fast hyperloop train achieved stable levitation while travelling in a low-vacuum tube.
This means that China could soon have a train that is as fast as a plane, the SCMP reported. The vehicle relies on maglev technology, which uses magnetism to propel the train forward, as well as “levitate” it above the tracks thereby reducing friction. To further boost its speed, the train also travels through a specifically designed low-vacuum tube that reduces air resistance.
The CASIC said that the latest test not only set a speed record for the system but also validated several key technologies and proved that they work well together. The high-speed flier project integrates aerospace and terrestrial rail transport technologies, with a designed speed of up to 1,000km/hr – surpassing commercial aviation speeds, the agency said.
“Science and technology progress step by step and some aspects of this project are still in uncharted territory in China. Every step is challenging, and it’s a complex system,” said the project’s chief designer Mao Kai.
According to the outlet, the latest test proved that the vehicle tube and track interact well, keeping the heavy maglev vehicles floating steadily. The powerful movement systems and overall safety controls also functioned as expected, the CASIC said.
These advances had improved the overall technical maturity of the system, laying a solid technical foundation for future higher-speed tests and the construction of a national level transport network, the agency added.
Additionally, the China National Space Administration, the CASIC department is also working on the country’s next-generation commercial aerospace electromagnetic launch systems.