China will develop a prototype magnetic-levitation train with a top speed of 600 kph by 2020, according to its developers.
On January 25, 2018, a review committee consisting of 19 Chinese academicians and experts, approved a technical plan to develop the high-speed maglev train and support facilities, according to CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co. in Qingdao, Shandong Province.
The plan will add the 600 kph speed range to China's current transportation system, thus filling the blank between the country's high-speed rail, with a maximum operating speed of 350 kph, and air transport, whose economical cruising speed ranges from 800 to 1000 kph, said the review committee.
Design and construction will begin immediately. A sample carriage will be built this year, and a complete train will be ready for a 5-km test run in 2020, said Ding Sansan, deputy chief engineer of CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co.
Proposed by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the project was launched in October 2016 and is part of China's Key National R&D Program for the 13th Five-year Plan.
Some 16 Chinese companies, colleges, universities, and research institutes are involved in the project, with CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co. playing a leading role.
The total cost of the project is said to be more than 3 billion yuan, according to Jia Limin, an official with the project.
The project is aimed at mastering the core technology for high-speed magnetic-levitation trains to achieve a top speed of 600 kph.
So far, Japan's high-speed maglev technology has achieved a test speed of 603 kph in the cutting-edge rail transit area, and Germany has reached 505 kph in test runs.