Chinese state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASIC) has revealed its plans to one day build a flying train that could reach speeds of up to 4,000kph. The plans from the Chinese state-owned organisation call for the use of Maglev trains that would be able to ‘fly on the ground.’ China was one of the pioneers of the use of Maglev trains, and has an operational 30.5-kilometre line that connects the Shanghai International Airport to the city.
However, the lack of success of the same Shanghai line, saw Chinese Railways go along the regular high-speed railway route to get trains to go fast and its fast trains currently run as fast as 320kph. However, the new ‘flying trains’ will borrow tech from its potential rival, Hyperloop (first envisioned by Elon Musk), which too recently hit a top speed of 324kph. The planned ultra-fast CASIC maglev trains will like Hyperloop run inside a vacuum tube and will initially hit speeds of 1,000kph. Trains travelling between Chinese megacities will be twice as fast while the fastest trains travelling on international routes will hit a top speed of 4,000kph. However, CASIC claims that the train’s acceleration speeds will be slower than a plane taking off to keep passengers safe.
“While CASIC’s vacuum tube maglev shows the heights of China’s dreams for its high-speed rail network, however, considering that only astronauts and spy plane pilots in pressurised space suits have hit such crazy speeds, we really don’t know if the regular human body will be able to withstand such high speeds. Unless CASIC starts handing out space suits to each of its travellers (which will increase the time taken at stations and travelling), we really don’t know how this fantastical maglev dream will ever come true”, opined an observer of this development.