China's maglev transit initiative picks up steam

Updated: 2016-10-31 15:40

(People's Daily Online)

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China's maglev transit initiative picks up steam

Shanghai maglev train. [File photo]

China's largest railway enterprise has shelled out 2 billion yuan to establish the country's first magnetic levitation, or maglev, transportation company, marking the country's push to speed up its industrialization and commercial maglev infrastructure, reported.

China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) has established its subsidiary, China Railway Maglev Transportation Investment & Construction Co., LTD (CRMT), located in Wuhan, Hubei province. The subsidiary carries out research on maglev technology for passenger and cargo transportation, in addition to planning, managing, building and investing in maglev projects.

According to Qian Qingquan, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a professor at Southwest Jiaotong University, China has put original, domestic technology to work building a medium-low-speed maglev train (traveling at 200 km/h), as well as a high-speed one (600 km/h). Research into vacuum tube trains that travel at up to 4,000 km/h is also underway.

The Changsha Maglev Express in central China's Hunan province is China's first domestically built maglev line that uses homegrown technology. The line stretches over 18.55 kilometers and takes 19.5 minutes to complete. According to Xia Guobin, vice president of CRCC, the line that started trial operation on May 6 had safely operated for 175 days as of Oct. 27. With a steady passenger flow of 6,800, over 1.2 million passengers have ridden the line so far. It has filled a void and verified the safety and commercial potential of maglev projects in China.

Lei Jiamin, president of CRMT, said that more than 10 cities in China are currently planning maglev railways. These cities include Changsha, home to China's first maglev line, Qingdao and Beijing. Beijing is building its first medium-low-speed maglev line S1, which will enter operation at the end of 2016, according to the Beijing Railway Construction Cooperation. It will take only 10 minutes to travel 10.2 kilometers from the city's western suburb Shimenying to Pingguoyuan station on city subway Line 1.

According to CRMT, future low-speed maglev projects will primarily aim to link large cities with their satellite cities, as well as suburbs to downtown areas. They will also be used in second- and third-tier Chinese cities as a substitute for subways. Currently, China has 142 cities with more than 1 million residents, but only around 30 cities have subways.