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China debuts world’s fastest train

CNN) — A maglev bullet train that can reach speeds of 600 kilometers per hour (373 miles per hour) has made its debut in Qingdao, China. Developed by the state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation, it’s considered the world’s fastest train.

“Maglev” is an abbreviation of “magnetic levitation.” The train appears to be “floating” thanks to an electromagnetic force that sends it gliding above the tracks. Liang Jianying, deputy general manager and chief engineer of CRRC Sifang, told Chinese state media that in addition to its speed, the train emits low levels of noise pollution and requires less maintenance than other high-speed trains.

prototype of the new maglev train was revealed to media in 2019. That same year, China announced ambitious plans to create “3-hour transportation circles” between major metropolitan areas.

China's new maglev train is designed to reach speeds of 600 kilometers per hour.

China’s new maglev train is designed to reach speeds of 600 kilometers per hour. Feature China/Barcroft Media/Getty ImagesHigh-speed rail is a major priority in China, which aims to connect more of its large cities by train to reduce the time and expense required to travel around the world’s most populous country. Currently, the average high-speed train in China can run at about 350 kph, while planes fly at 800-900 kph. Trains like the one unveiled in Qingdao this week could fill a critical middle space.

However there’s one thing keeping this train from being ready to greet commuters — a lack of completed maglev track networks. Currently, China only has one maglev line in commercial use, connecting Shanghai’s Pudong Airport with the Longyang Road station in the city. The 30 km (19 mile) journey takes about seven and a half minutes, with the train hitting speeds of 430 kp267 mph). The 270-mile railway between Lhasa and Nyingchi entered into service on June 25, giving all regions in mainland China access to high-speed train travel.Several new maglev networks are reportedly under construction, including one linking Shanghai and Hangzhou and another connecting Chengdu and Chongqing.

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