05/30/2019 – The Chinese manufacturer CRRC, which is so scary to European manufacturers, unveils a magnetic levitation train project that could circulate from 2021.
State-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) announced the development of a magnetic levitation train prototype capable of speeds of up to 600 km / h. It is a train without wheels, where the train is the only moving part. The train travels along a guideway of magnets which control the train’s stability and speed. Maglev trains are therefore quieter and smoother than conventional trains, and have the potential for much higher speeds. The target behind this project? Connect Beijing and Shanghai, 1,300 km, in just two hours.
The two notable types of maglev technology are:
– Electromagnetic suspension (EMS), electronically controlled electromagnets in the train attract it to a magnetically conductive (usually steel) track.
– Electrodynamic suspension (EDS) uses superconducting electromagnets or strong permanent magnets that create a magnetic field, which induces currents in nearby metallic conductors when there is relative movement, which pushes and pulls the train towards the designed levitation position on the guide way.
It can be recalled that magnetic levitation trains have been studied in Europe in 1979, especially in Germany under the name of Transrapid. The project was abandoned because of its costs and an important accident at Lathen in September 2006, which did not concern the maglev technology itself. Since then, Maglev technology has been abandoned to Asia, the only continent that still believes in it.
The competition is raging between China and Japan who seem to be the most advanced. The Shanghai maglev demonstration line, build in 2004, cost US$1.2 billion. That’s was thefirst real maglev in commercial operations. Another project is under construction, the Chuo Shinkansen in Japan, which was estimated to cost approximately US$82 billion to build, with a route requiring long tunnels. All this indicates that Asia has clearly taken the leadership of this technology.
The main challenge for China remains the exorbitant price of this new generation of trains, but that would ensure a place of leadership in the international market. And itsn’t good news for Europe and America.
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