China has unveiled a prototype for the world’s fastest train capable of traveling at over 370mph, according to state media.
The maglev train, unveiled in the coastal city of Qingdao, will “levitate” above the track with no contact between the body and rail. Its cars will be suspended, driven and guided using electromagnetic force.
The only resistance for the train, will come from the air, state media said, adding that no rail lines yet exist that can accommodate its speed.
At 370mph, the journey time between Beijing and Shanghai will be just two and a half hours. It currently takes high-speed trains almost six hours take to complete the 700-mile trip.
The new high-speed maglev train is unveiled at a ceremony in Qingdao, eastern China
The Beijing to Shanghai route is one of China’s busiest and fastest existing rail lines, carrying 1.35 billion passengers over its first ten years in operation, according to state media.
Countries including the UK, US, Canada, Germany and Japan have also been working on the development of maglev trains and rail networks.
China already has the world’s largest high-speed rail network, with roughly 23,500 miles of lines slicing through the country of 3.7 million square miles – nearly 40 times the size of the UK.
Half of the existing tracks were laid in just the last five years.
And more is coming as plans are in place for increasing capacity – the aim is to double rail lines to 43,500 miles by 2035.
At the moment, the maximum speed is roughly 215mph on existing routes.
For China, increasingly fast, smooth high-speed rail is a symbol of the country’s growing economic power and technological prowess.
The country has been eager to showcase its experiments with maglev trains. In January, another prototype for a train that state media touted could reach 385mph was unveiled, said state media.
It also helps further leader Xi Jinping’s aim of connecting the country, linking rural areas where ethnic minorities such as Tibetans and Uyghurs live with urban centers where more of the Han ethnic majority are based.
Physical rail links will also allow existing urban areas to expand further into the suburbs.
About 60 miles outside Beijing, the Xiong’an New Area is a new city being constructed entirely from scratch, and will be the new headquarters of a number of government offices and state-owned enterprises.
The aim is to reduce congestion and pollution in the country’s capital, where property prices have soared over the decades as China rose to become the world’s second-largest economy.