China & # 39; s leading manufacturer of trains has unveiled a prototype magnet train that ultimately transports passengers at speeds up to 373 mph (600 km / h). CNN reports that the train, developed by the state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), will now enter a test period before full production is expected to start in 2021.
373 km / h is fast, so fast that it takes the train in just three and a half hours to transport passengers between Beijing and Shanghai, compared to the four and a half hours that it currently takes a plane to take the journey according to the deputy of CRRC chief engineer Ding Sansan. That is despite the fact that the typical cruising speed of an aircraft is between 547 and 575 mph (880 and 926 km / h).
The train will be able to reach these theoretical speeds thanks to its maglev design, which sees it running on a magnetically driven air cushion instead of wheels that are in constant contact with a track. China already has & # 39; the world's fastest commercial maglev service in operation, reaching 267 mph (431 km / h) on its 18.6 mile (30 km) journey between Shanghai airport and the city center.
The CRRC prototype, first announced in 2015, will not be the first train to reach such speeds. In 2015, Japan set a new world speed record with its own magnetic glider train that reached 375 mph (603 km / h). The country is currently building a Maglev railway line of 314 miles per hour (505 km / h) between Tokyo and Nagoya that will open in 2027.