China unveils a new high-speed Maglev train prototype that can reach 620 km/h

China intends to continue to develop passenger transportation by highways based on the principles of magnetic levitation. It has launched a prototype for a new high-speed Maglev train that is capable of reaching speeds of 620 km/h (385 mph).

The Maglev train has recently been tested and is part of the Chinese plan to provide fast transport between major cities. The sleek 21-meter-long (69 feet) vehicle runs on high-temperature superconducting (HTS) power, which makes the train look as if the train is floating along the magnetized tracks. Researchers at Southwest Jiaotong University unveiled the new maglev train to the press in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, on January 13th.

Scientists also built constructed 165 meters (541 feet) of the track to demonstrate how the train would look and feel in transit, the South China Morning Post reports. As mentioned above, the train the designed to travel at up to 620km/h (385mph), but developers hope to eventually boost its speed to 800km/h (497mph). This means it could transport passengers between Beijing and Shanghai in just three and a half hours – the same journey takes around two hours nonstop to fly in an airplane.

The Chinese claim that this type of train could become a faster means of transport than the plane, including distances exceeding 1,000 km. China has invested heavily in transportation in recent years, especially in these magnetic levitation trains, and was the first country to have the first high-speed Maglev train for commercial use, the Shanghai maglev, with a cruising speed of 431 km/h (268 mph).

Professor He Chuan, the vice president of Southwest Jiaotong University, which worked on the prototype, said the train could be “operational” within 3 to 10 years.