China has unveiled its new magnetic levitation (maglev) train, touted to be among the fastest ground vehicles available globally (if you exclude record-breaking rocket cars). At top velocity, the train is expected to reach a phenomenal 600 kilometers (373 miles) per hour, faster than any high-speed rail currently available, and just shy of Japan’s Maglev train record.
The new train would cover the journey between China’s capital Beijing and Shanghai in just over a couple of hours, depending on the number of stops and ability to keep its top speed. This is comparable with a plane trip between the two cities, which is about the same time (minus airport waiting times).
The Beijing-Shanghai line already sports the fastest train services in the world, making the 1,302 kilometers (809 miles) journey in 4 hours and 18 minutes on the fastest schedule. Cutting another couple of hours would truly make the flight route verge on obsolete.
So where can people jump on this super-fast train? Well, we don’t know yet. While the train has been unveiled and has been tested since June 2020, it hasn’t got a track to run on yet, although plans for such lines have been proposed.
Shanghai is actually home to the fastest maglev train, also known as the Shanghai Transrapid, that is in operation. The Shanghai Transrapid can reach a top speed of 430 km/h (270 mph) covering a distance of 30.5 kilometers (19 miles) between the city and the airport in just over 8 minutes.
Maglev train railways continue to be a rarity due to costs – even the record-breaking Japanese one is yet to be run as a passenger service. Its expected start date is currently unknown.