China’s largest railway developer, CRRC Corp Ltd, has announced plans to build a five kilometer test track for the development of a new Maglev train that could reach speeds of over 600km/h (327mph).
The train could potentially be the fastest in the world, and is on track to surpass the world record of 602km/h speed set by a Japanese train last year.
The world's fastest Maglev train, in Japan.
To give you an idea of how fast 600 km/h is, this train could travel between London and Paris in 34 minutes or cut the journey time from Shanghai to Beijing from six and a half hours to three.
As well as developing this superfast train, CRRP is also looking to develop a slower 400km/h Maglev train that can switch between different tracks. This technology would make these trains capable of crossing international borders where track widths vary.
Maglev (Magnetic Levitation) trains essentially float above their tracks and use electric currents rather than fossil fuels to provide thrust. Higher top speeds are achieved through aerodynamically slick trains combined with tiny amounts of friction from the rails, which offer a smoother ride all round.
China is quickly surpassing Japan as the train capital of the world. Earlier this year, China’s first homegrown Maglev line was opened in Changsha, while the world’s first commercially-operated Maglev line in Shanghai flies people from the city to Pudong International Airport at 431km/h.