China’s love affair with magnetic levitation trains (Maglev) began long before it knew how to build them itself. In 2001Germany’s Transrapid International built the first Maglev train for China, which, at a maximum speed of over 270 miles an hour, was also the fastest in the world. Apparently, in the process the company also handed its technology to the Chinese. China set up National Research and Development Center for Maglev Transportation Technology, an organization to build on Transrapid tech, and voila, it was on its way.
Since then, the country has steadily been making progress in the dream of building these high speed trains itself. In 2010 China’s first high speed Maglev train was delivered to the authorities in the Sichuan province. It was built by the Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Company, the same company that is making the 5th Generation J-20 planes. The train ran at over 500 km/ph and was suppos,ed to use technology that normally is found in the planes.
There were news reports at the time that the country was trying to build a train that would run at an unheard 1000 km/hr, but that train is yet to be delivered. China is reportedly building special vacuum tunnels for these trains so that it is able to eliminate friction from the air.
Now, it has built a version of the Maglev, which though not so fast is supposed to be more commercially viable. The train will run at an inspiring speed of a 100 km per hour. But it is quieter and more environmentally friendly that conventional Maglev trains. The train which is developed by Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co. Ltd. of China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation (CSR).will have just three carriages, and will consume less energy than a sedan. “It’s ideal for mass transportation, as it is quiet and environmental-friendly. Its manufacturing cost is about 75 percent of a conventional light-rail train,” said an spokesperson for the company.
The train is designed to operate in tourist destinations, and areas with fragile ecologies. The train’s environmental friendly and low noise pollution is ideally suited to such areas.