China is one of the leading countries in railway development, and the length of the high-speed railway network is still growing tremendously. This is accompanied by research and development work, the latest result of which is breaking the record for the highest speed ever measured on a magnetic railway as well.
The new peak speed was 623 km/h, and was run on a 2 km-long “tube” track by the special assembly, a model of which can also be seen in the opening photo. The previous record for a maglev train was 603 km/h, while the fastest conventional train reached 574.8 km/h.
In the new project, CASIC, China's state-owned spacecraft and rocket manufacturer, plays a key role. They built a test site tunnel in Shanxi Province, and its special feature is that it has a low vacuum.
Low vacuum means that the air pressure is between 0.001 and 0.3 bar (normal air pressure at sea level is 1 bar per day), and in this rarefied atmospheric environment, the maglev train, which is already practically frictionless, reached record speed. The test was conducted before several previous slower tests last October, but the Chinese have only just announced it.
China is one step closer to an advanced transportation system that includes a high speed of 1,000 kilometers per hour #maglev #trains Commissioning in a low-vacuum pipeline following the recent completion of the main body of a 2km full-scale test pipeline in Shanxi, northern China, the longest of its kind in the world. pic.twitter.com/rDv1NEQ20k
— China Science (@ChinaScience) November 23, 2023
They do not write about the details of the test, so it is worth taking into account that if the train actually reaches a speed of more than 600 km/h on a two-kilometre section and stops safely, then there are serious G-forces during the acceleration and/or deceleration phase that They did it. In some cases, this can be a force of 2-3 Gs – we do not encounter such forces in everyday life.
According to a CASIC statement, the tests will continue: the next stage will be the construction of a 60 km long low-vacuum test track, where the target speed of 1,000 km/h is scheduled to be reached.
This type of transport through vacuum tunnels is not easy to carry out and is not the cheapest at all. Elon Musk tried something similar in the form of the Hyperloop, but in December 2023, the company behind it ended its operation.