China Starts Building Double Speed Maglev Test Track

China is building new faster prototype maglev train line. China existing high-speed trains are almost all faster versions of conventional steel wheels on steel rail trains. China only has one 19-mile long high-speed maglev train line from Pudong to the Shanghai International Airport.

China has the longest network of conventional high-speed rail in the world. They have 29,000 kilometers of high speed rail.

China has completed a feasibility study for a new network of double to triple speed maglev from Guangzhou to Beijing on which trains could travel at between 600km/h and 1,000km/h. The higher speed would require building a lower pressure tube (partially evacuated of air) to enable higher speed.

A 600km/h maglev train prototype will be ready for trial runs in 2020. Hubei will start work on a 200-km section made of vacuum tubes to conduct experiments to verify the cutting-edge, high-temperature superconducting maglev theory and ultimately push the speed limit to 1,000km/h.

In May, 2019, China revealed the body of the new maglev train. The construction of a train body with ultra-lightweight, high-strength materials was a challenge, Ding said. Complex physical problems created by high speeds also needed to be solved in new ways if the Qingdao prototype was to reach peak performance.

The faster maglev would eliminate the advantages jet passenger planes had over a distance of 1,500km (900 miles).

Traveling from Beijing-to-Shanghai takes about four-and-a-half hours by including preparation time for the journey. It takes about five-and-a-half hours by China’s existing high-speed rail. It would take about three-and-a-half hours by 600kph maglev. It would take 2 hours with 1000 km/hr maglev with partial vacuum tube.

China might build a lot more maglev lines in the next one to two decades between the affluent Yangtze River Delta (Shanghai area) and the Pearl River Delta (Hong Kong-Guangzhou area). Business travelers may choose to hop on maglev trains instead of planes if they can travel from one major city to another within an hour.

More maglevs would join the development project in the coming months, the team leader was quoted as saying, while mass production of the technology was likely by 2021.

51 thoughts on “China Starts Building Double Speed Maglev Test Track”

  1. California’s high speed rail project is having trouble specifically due to mismanagement through distribution of work to unqualified contractors and lack of a central authority. They actually bought up a bunch of land without paying for it due to the whole left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing kind of deal. There’s more to it than that.

    Meanwhile, on the East coast, Northeast Maglev expects to break ground by 2021 pending formal approval on a DC to Baltimore maglev project using SCMaglev. They plan eventual extensions to Philadelphia and NYC and several airports.

    There’s a project in Texas which is facing its own brand of trouble.

    Florida is doing best because it managed to get some higher speed rail going and they’re already looking toward expanding. It was called Brightline, then get bought by Virgin and is now Virgin Trains USA.

  2. The U.S. hasn’t been the world’s police sind 1954. It’s been a global schoolyard bully instead. Every single instance of cruise missile diplomacy is illegal under several international treaties and under U.S. law – the U.S. is breaking international law, not enforcing it.

  3. They could solve those issues if they wanted to. For example, they can isolate incidents by having a large spacing between cars and having crumple zones on either side. As for the vacuum .. as astronaut Jim Leblanc found out in 1966 .. humans can survive in total vacuum for at least 30 seconds. They could probably save most people if they can work out emergency repressurization to occur in 15 seconds (they dont need it to get to one bar in 15 seconds .. if they get it to mount everest level pressure by 15 seconds that may be sufficient.) They can have giant doors that close to isolate 100 meter sections to enable re[ressurization.

  4. Cry me a river. Chinese scientists and engineers are very capable. These new systems are innovative. Next thing I’ll be hearing that the concept of a train is copied by the Chinese. The reality is that both industrial and scientific capabilities of the Chinese are now on par or better than that of the competition. Live with it! I am not Chinese, but look around your local high schools and universities, you’ll find that Chinese students are over represented compared to their numbers in the local population. This is your answer, like it or not.

  5. Not a problem. China is extremely efficient at facial, gait and other recognition and pre-screen train/plane ticket buyers based on criminal background checks and social credit scores (this also includes medical records, e.g., if said citizen is on specific NSAIDs etc). It is a very efficient way of making sure only “good citizens” take the train/plane.

    The last barrier of defense is, if a pre-approved good citizen suddenly gets a psychotic break, to deploy state of the art backscatter and other detection tech at the “gate”. And this security check is also very efficient.

    The biggest risk are the foreigners. But, even that is pretty well mitigated. China will screen (electronically of course) all your social media posts, bank statements, tax returns, browser histories etc that can be tied to you (you enter your home address passport etc). Most individuals operate like an open book. So I would say one of the only ways to get past this security fortress is if you are truly a recluse lone wolf and really, really, want to make a bomb (how?). Or, you are part of a very well funded intel op.

  6. No, I don’t give much for your argument that the US traffic is so different from the norwegean dito that a general correlation between deafness and rate of accidents would not hold in both or none of the countries.

    However… There seems to be a problem with silent cards and blind people. The blind rely only on hearing.

    Meaning you were right even though you didn’t have the correct arguments.

    Let’s hope that SW can be used to turn on the sound only when it is needed. After all, if the SW cannot detect the pedestrian with 100% accuracy, then level 5 autonomous driving is dead in the water. And if it could, then I don’t see why it couldn’t be trusted with turning the sound on and off…

  7. Well, it’s good to know that they’re would be a safe haven if the zombie apocalypse would occur…

  8. You can’t use logic to assume what the ramifications would be in a very different situation. Norway and the US are very different. The study simply is not applicable. The test I sited was about accidents not deaths.
    I just looked at the study again. The investigators were smarter than I thought. The data was collected on college campuses. College students tend to be young. So they bypassed that issue. As such, their results seem just fine.

    “The total campus population is around 17,000 students, of which approximately 5% to 6% are D/HH. The database included partial information from 384 accidents with complete information for only 319 of these accidents. D/HH drivers accounted for 49 of these accidents while hearing drivers were involved with 335 accidents.”

    So 14.6% of the accidents involved the deaf students which make up 5 to 6% of the students.

  9. Yep. A lot more wars in third world hell holes without outside interference except both sides bought cheap sino weapons. A new era.

  10. The energy requirements for traveling at 1000 kmh is significantly less for the train because it is traveling in vacuum. Depending on the amount of vacuum they achieve.

  11. There would be no need for high speed trains If everyone had the time to nap all night while they traveled to their destination, a regular train could do that if Johnny Cab™ can.

  12. There is a real market on the Eastern and Western Seaboard, they just don’t get built because of regulation and land rights. That’s why the California rail is bogged down, you make one person mad then there is concessions and prices go up. That’s why they elevated the train onto a huge bridge, because people complain about noise. Sometimes I wish only the smart and educated get a say in America, adding the remaining 90% just stifles innovation. Point being there is a market, there is just too much bureaucracy and people that make money not having these transport networks built.

  13. If there was a real market it for it someone would build it. In America, you are more likely to get high speed automated vehicles (ground, air and hyper-loop) to take individual parties to individual destinations instead of mass transit.

  14. Chinese high speed train security and Chinese internal air security were pretty similar.

    One difference being that you carried your luggage on board, instead of checking it in, so there wasn’t that whole check-in procedure.

    But luggage was still x-rayed while you went through a metal detector.

    I had the same belt and shoes, and neither air nor train metal detectors were set off by them.

    I will also note that Chinese security queues were much shorter than my experience with USA security queues. Possibly because the Chinese hire more staff, possibly because the USA is using buildings that were laid out decades before and don’t suit the new requirements.

  15. Interesting. And how time consuming was that compared to boarding an airplane? Did you have to wait in endless lines to have your hand luggage x-rayed, remove your belt from your pants, have your toothpaste i a small plastic bag…?

  16. And now I have perused your article. It turns out that the likelyhood of accidents for deaf people on campus – where they are all at the same age as the hearing drivers – was between 1.5 and 3.5 times higher.

    The authors speculate that the reason for the higher risk of accidents could be that deaf drivers are conversing with passengers. And this requires looking at the other persons hands, i.e. not paying attention to the traffic around them. No risk of having that happening to hearing drivers that drive a silent car….

  17. Why would the fact that the USA has a higher incidence of traffic accidents compared to Norway change weather deaf people are more likely or not to have a traffic accident? Please explain.

    If anything, the opposite should be true. If the norwegeans would drive more carefully than the americans, there would be less “low hanging fruit” to collect by driving even more carefully, i.e. there would be fewer measures for the deaf people to use to compensate for their loss of hearing.

  18. Not actually true.
    I’ve travelled on several of the high speed trains in China, including the 430 kph Shanghai one, and they have security checkin and metal detectors just like airlines do.

    France was the same.

  19. They not only stiffed the Germans, they also transferred the technology to them for making maglev trains locally in China…because it’s better than making no money at all…

  20. No one is going to care about highspeed trains when autonomous self driving cars becomes the norm… You could easily take a nap in the back seat and wake up in the morning at your destination if your car can drive for you… It’s only a matter of time before the standard car starts looking like a limo… think about… you get rid of the front seat and stealing wheel…you put one bench seat facing backwards and one Bench seat facing forwards with a table in the middle… it’s like riding on a train… you remove the table it folds down to becomes a bed… meanwhile your car does the driving for you

  21. The US being the worlds police is slowly coming to an end, and as it continues, expect far more bombs to drop, with very few coming from US aircraft. The US has also slowly begun the de-coupling form China, this will stretch out over awhile, and will hurt China very badly. They will likely enter another war amongst themselves before they have a maglev network.

  22. Sounds great the faster the better. Planes require petroleum, I wonder if there is any equivalence of fuel consumption vs. km traveled between trains and planes. If the trains were powered by electricity generated by nuclear, wind ,solar, or hydro then the health benefits of clean travel out way the time savings.

  23. You are trying too hard to be right, and too little to find the probable. Judging by a Norway study is a very bad fit for the US. People in Norway are very considerate and careful drivers. 2.7 fatalities per 100,000 people in Norway. 12.4 in the US. And Even by European standards Norway has much less. In fact, only 2 countries have less in the World: Monaco, and Micronesia.
    Their rates are so low they almost certainly had much less statistics to work with.
    And I looked at accident rates by age. It did not go sky high, just deaths likely to frailty.
    Are deaf older people more frail than other old people? Who is to say…but without evidence I see no compelling reason to think they are.

  24. And here is a popular science report that claims that previous estimates of the traffic risk of hearing imparted people were ambiguous and affected by the age factor that you found by a cursory glance. Also, they claim that the risk is actually lower for the hearing imparted since they drive more carefully. So it would seem that you can compensate for the loss of heating by changing one’s behavior…

  25. First you claim that deaf people are more likely to seriously injured. Then you find that the researchers did not control for age. Third you find that older people are more likely to be injured. In other words, your explanation that the first article really just measured age and not the effect of deafness on accidents seems like a perfect fit….

    Also, the fact that their estimated increase of risk varies between 1.5 times and 9 times the baseline risk indicates that they had really poor statistics, i.e. very few deaf in their survey. (I assume that they have plenty of statistics of hearing people).

  26. Not related exactly but I read an article a few months ago about deaf people having issues with key-less starting in cars in their garages. They don’t know if they are off or not and get asphyxiated. Another good reason to have a Tesla…no fumes in the garage. Not the same article but the same issue:
    Decided to look at your claim. Does not appear to hold up too well: “The results of the NASS data analysis indicate that deaf and hard-of-hearing drivers are one and a half to nine times as likely to be seriously injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident.”
    If they are having trouble while driving, they should be having similar issues as pedestrians. You are no less alert while driving than walking.
    Though I don’t know the average age of these drivers. Older people tend to be more likely to be deaf/hard of hearing. So I hope they corrected for that obvious confounding variable.
    Does not appear that they did. But I suppose their goal was just to see how many more accidents deaf people had, rather than seeing exactly how much being deaf was effecting the rate.
    I decided to look at some accident rates by age. Looks like it does not go up dramatically with age. What tends to go up is fatalities. Easier to get killed in an accident if you are older.

  27. High speed rail won’t happen in American unless it gets stupid cheap or the population density goes way up.

  28. Blind people would not last too long crossing streets in my neighborhood…especally at rush hour.
    A couple miles away the intersection lights all have sound. One of my friends in high school went blind…that is where he lives.

  29. That’s why most proposals for absurdly high speed trains have the tube buried. At these sorts of speeds the track has to be extremely straight, it can’t jog around obstacles. Once you’ve got a straight track, the train isn’t going to spontaneously derail, it would require outside interference.

    So you bury an enclosed tube. Then even in the worst case accident, where everybody on the train is dead, all that energy is expended moving dirt around underground.

  30. Obviously it happens at some point. You’d need the details of the tech used to even guess at where that point would be.

  31. It is not so much attitude that has changed. They have technology now that is constantly using facial recognition on everyone. They can use AI to watch rather than just a few million security agents.
    That said, I still agree with you. Something this vulnerable, they simply have to take additional measures with. They probably also have to go slower through highly populated areas, as a 500 mph train loose of the tube could do an enormous amount of damage. A 65 mph derailment of a freight train (though carrying oil), did a number on a town in Canada a few years ago:
    30 buildings and 47 people dead. The kinetic energy in a train moving at 1,000km/h I can’t even guess at, but I guarantee in a densely populated area the death toll could be in the several thousand range. A few dozen cars and a very densely populated area or near a celebration of some kind, and it could even be in the 10s of thousands not even counting the people on the train.

  32. German Transrapid maglev tech used to create the Shanghai line, of course. I don’t think the Germans forgot about China stiffing them on that project…

  33. I’ve only been to China twice and only flown once from China. It was also a while back now.. But there was plenty of security checks before boarding the airplane, despite the fact that China was every bit as oppressive then as it is now.

  34. Its a question of what you are used to. Blind people are just as safe as seeing people in traffic (admittedly from memory) so it’s a matter of what you are use to.

    Either you take the “transition cost” to silent cities, i.e. exert the effort to change the behavior, or you go with the short term easy solution.

    There is a middle solution. Cars could be required to make noise when a pedestrian is close. The self driving SW would detect pedestrians… Of course, this would open up the car companies to law suits from people that would claim that the car that hit them was quiet. I don’t really see that they would be motivated to take this risk for the common good…

  35. “Look at the demands for having speakers on electric cars instead of teaching people to look rather than listen for cars.”

    Looking demands significant attention, you can’t do other things at the same time. Listening is a background activity. This makes listening more efficient than looking.

  36. In China they keep the security protocols from bogging down high speed travel by extending them to all of society, instead of just at the departure site. I am not saying this is a good thing, just that you don’t have to spend time entering little police states around airport terminals if your airport is already IN a police state.

  37. Note, I don’t want this technology to get bogged down. But human nature… Look at the demands for having speakers on electric cars instead of teching people to look rather than listen for cars. We had a singular opportunity to make our cities more quiet, but didn’t take it… And I believe they will shove just as much unecessary security protocol down the throat of high-speed maglev as there is for airtravel.

  38. I suspect that this tech – whether in China, in the USA or in Europe – would be bogged down with securit protocols, i.e. it would be just as time consuming to check the passengers before boarding the train as it is now boarding a plane. So they should include security clearance times for the train in the travel time.

    After all, blowing up a bomb in a high-speed train in vacuum would most likely kill everybody on the train (1000 people?) and cause enormous economic damage. If you blow up a small bomb in a (slow) train you basically “only” kill the people in the car. The tracks are most likely not damaged… Evacuation is easy, just stop the train and people can get out through the doors and windows. Not so much a 1000 km/h train in a vacuum tube…

  39. The best option seems to be a telepresence by VR technology because you don’t need to travel at all. Why travel when you could do everything remotely.

  40. It’s already reached the point (long reached by airlines) that improvements in luggage handling or boarding procedure will reduce travel time by more than a merely faster vehicle.

  41. I would think there would be a point of diminishing return. At what point does the cost of faster trains become greater than the savings in time.

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