QINGDAO, CHINA — China's state media says the country has just unveiled a new train that levitates on magnetic fields and can travel over 600 kilometers per hour.
Unfortunately, there are no rail lines that can make use of such a train in China at the moment.
Here are the details: Reuters reports that China unveiled a maglev train capable of a top speed of 600 kilometers per hour, or 370 miles per hour, on Tuesday, July 21.
That maximum speed would make the train, which was self-developed by China and manufactured in the coastal city of Qingdao, the fastest ground vehicle in the world.
Using electro-magnetic force, the maglev train "levitates" above the track with no contact between itself and the rail.
This means that the train hovers on magnetic fields created by huge currents of electricity.
China has been using the technology for almost two decades on a very limited scale.
Shanghai has a short maglev line running from one of its airports to town.
While there are currently no inter-city maglev lines in China that could make good use of the higher speeds, cities like Shanghai and Chengdu have started to conduct research.
At 600 kilometers per hour, it would only take two-and-a-half hours to travel from Beijing to Shanghai by train — a journey of more than 1,000 kilometers, or 620 miles.
Such a journey would take three hours by plane or five-and-a-half hours by high-speed rail.
Countries from Japan to Germany are also looking to build maglev networks, although high costs and incompatibility with current track infrastructure remain hurdles to rapid development.
Advances in train technology have taken off in recent years, with Japan developing a bullet train capable of reaching 400 kilometers per hour, or 250 miles per hour.