China to float new maglev train by 2020

China has ambitious plans for a new magnetic levitation train that could travel at speeds of greater than 370 mph — and the development will not be impeded by the U.S.-China trade dispute, experts say.


Liang Jianying, an engineer with China’s state-owned CRRC Qingdao Sifang, said Tuesday the design for the train prototype is complete, and production of parts has begun, the South China Morning Post reported.
Liang said the train could potentially travel at more than 370 mph, but a “maximum operating speed” of about 340 mph is the target.

A test run is scheduled for 2020.

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Magnetic levitation or maglev trains are capable of traveling at higher speeds because the trains “float” on the tracks and move on magnetic fields.

China included maglev trains in its 13th five-year economic plan in 2016.

The ongoing trade war with the United States is unlikely to hinder the high-speed train’s development, Liang said.

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“We indeed conduct global procurement of parts for our trains but only a very small portion is bought from the United States,” she said. “Moreover, we can find substitutes on the mainland.”

“Our strategy has been one with three steps: import advance technologies from foreign countries, digest and absorb, and eventually develop our own innovations.”

Liang also said more than 930 items of intellectual property were confirmed “without any infringement.”

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“This marks our comprehensive grasp of the technologies,” she said.

China is developing its high-speed rail network in the more immediate future in partnership with multinational firms.

Global Railway Review reported Tuesday Montreal-based Bombardier Transportation is to supply 120 CR400AF new standard high-speed train cars for Chinese rail.

The cars have an operating speed of more than 210 mph, according to the report.

ByElizabeth Shim