China's newest 'suspended' maglev train can travel 32-feet above the ground

It's all because of permanent magnets equipped with rare earth minerals.
Loukia Papadopoulos
China's latest maglev train floats.jpg
China's latest maglev train floats. 

  • The new train is 2,600 feet (800 meters )long.
  • It has the power to keep a “sky train” afloat forever.
  • It places China as a leader in rail transit.

China seems to be the leader when it comes to maglev trains. In 2018, it was reported that the nation was testing a super maglev train that was expected to travel at speeds up to 1,000 km/h.

Then, in June 2021, the country debuted a new envelope-pushing maglev train on a 540-ft (165-m) test track. Finally, in July 2021, China unveiled a maglev train designed to hit top speeds of 372 mph (600 km/h), making it the fastest ground vehicle at the time.

The world’s first suspended maglev line built with permanent magnets

Now, the South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday that the nation had debuted the world’s first suspended maglev line built with permanent magnets. The new development’s engineers boast that it can keep a “sky train” afloat forever – even without a power supply.

The new train is a 2,600-foot (800-meter) experimental Red Rail located in southern China’s Xingguo county, Jiangxi province. It is equipped with powerful magnets that can induce a repelling force strong enough to lift a train with 88 people on board.

This new model is very different from most existing maglev lines as it operates about 10 meters above the ground and without any physical contact with the rail. This does not stop it from being extremely fast, achieving speeds of 50mph (80km/h).

China's newest 'suspended' maglev train can travel 32-feet above the ground
The Chinese sky train. 

The new train is also extremely efficient. Due to its unique free-floating conditions and an absence of friction, it only requires a small amount of electricity to function. It also costs about a tenth of the price that it takes to build a subway.

The magnets used on this impressive train have had rare earth elements added to them to increase their lifespans. As such, they are known as permanent magnets.

The new train will also be driven by artificial intelligence. This fact, say experts, could significantly increase its speed.

Whereas the maximum speed of most domestic underground lines is generally capped at 80km/h, a permanent magnet AI-powered maglev train could reach a speed 50 percent faster. It would also be much quieter than its current counterparts.

Ideal for noise-polluted cities

This makes it ideal for cities where noise pollution is high. The new train could ferry citizens back and forth to their destinations without adding to the city’s noise pollution issues.

It’s also pretty much accident-proof because the permanent magnetic field can absorb most of the shocks that would damage other trains.

With this new train on its roster, it could very well be said that China is leading the world in rail transit offering its citizens safe and convenient ways to travel.

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