620 MPH Train: China developing vacuum maglev train

By Gary Johnson - Aug 7, 2010

If you thought the bullet trains were fast Chinese researchers are currently developing a vacuum maglev train which they think will reach speeds of up to 620 miles per hour. This comes after Japan announced their own plans for a maglev train that would reach speeds of 310 mph a few years ago.

Britt Liggett of inhabitat.com is reporting the train will run on magnetic tracks that are built into vacuum tubes underground and will reach average speeds of almost 400 miles per hour. The cost of this technology per kilometer is $2.95 million more than the current high speed trains.

The trains run using a system of large magnets which lift and propel the train cars, allowing them to run at high speeds but quieter and smoother than traditional wheeled trains. Back in 2003 the record was set in Japan for a maglev train at 361 miles per hour. But the Chinese plan to beat this by using the maglev technology with underground tunnels that will act as vacuums.

One of the biggest problems with this technology is the air friction that slows the train down, but the vacuum tunnels are hoped to get round this as the trains don’t have to compete with air friction while they move. The cost of this technology might outweigh the time saved traveling on one of the trains.

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