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The Maglev train: China debuts a prototype that can reach speeds of 620 kilometers per hour

(CNN) – China has unveiled a prototype for a new Maglev high-speed train that can reach speeds of 620 kilometers (385 miles) per hour.

The train operates with high-temperature superconducting (HTS) power, which makes it as if the train is moving on magnetized tracks.

The elegant 21-meter (69-foot) prototype was unveiled to the media in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province on January 13th. In addition, university researchers built a 1
65-meter (541-foot) track to demonstrate what the train would look like and feel in transit, according to state-run Xinhua News.

Professor He Chuan (vice president of Southwestern Jiaotong University, who worked on the prototype) told reporters that the train could be “operational” for 3-10 years.

He added: “Sichuan has rich rare earth resources, which is very useful for our construction of permanent magnet routes, thus encouraging faster development of experiments.”

A possible interior for the new Maglev train.

A possible interior for the new Maglev train.

Liu Kun / Xinhua / Sipa USA

China is home to the world’s largest high-speed rail network, which stretches for more than 37,000 kilometers, and the fastest train in operation – the Shanghai Maglev.

The country’s first high-speed train, the Maglev, began operating in 2003. At a top speed of 431 km / h, the train connects Shanghai Pudong Airport and Longyang Road in eastern Shanghai.

China is eager to make further infrastructure improvements ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

This time last year, China unveiled a new 174-kilometer high-speed rail link connecting Beijing with the host city of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Zhangjiakou, reducing travel time between the two from three hours to 47 minutes.

Earlier this month, the country debuted a bullet train specifically designed to withstand freezing temperatures. The CR400AF-G train can travel up to 350 kilometers per hour in cold weather down to -40 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Fahrenheit).
It will run on routes between Beijing, Shenyang and Harbin – the latter of which is so cold that it hosts an annual snow and ice festival.

CNN’s Shanshan Wang contributed reports.

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