Clean Transport maglev train

Published on August 19th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


1,000 KPH (620 MPH) Super Train for China

August 19th, 2010 by  

maglev train


Christopher DeMorro on our sister site,, just wrote a story on a new high-speed train China is planning that is expected to go 1,000 KMH! Say what? Yes, that is fast.

As DeMorro writes, “The latest plan from the People’s Republic calls for a high speed train that will combine the maglev system used in Japan and France with vacuum tubes. In theory, this train will be able to go 1,000 kph, or about 620 mph. That is twice as fast as most high speed trains travel today.”

Maglev systems can get trains going over 300 mph (with a record of 361 mph) smoothly and quietly using magnetics, but it is hard to get them going faster than that due to air friction.

China’s plan is to remove the air friction by using vacuum tubes (i.e. removing the air). Of course, this isn’t cheap — the vacuum tubes add $300 million to the already high cost of the maglev trains. But, over 600 mph?! That saves a lot of people a lot of money in what transportation economists (or economists, in general) call “time costs.”

One of the key safety concerns that immediately came to my mind regarding this high-speed, vacuum-sealed, maglev train apparently crossed DeMorro’s mind as well — “What happens if the train fails or loses power? Will suffocation ensue?” Hopefully, there is some “simple” safety measure to prevent that.

I imagine that all safety concerns will be properly addressed soon if they aren’t already, though, because China is really moving forward with this, and fast. Plans are to have the super high-speed, maglev, vacuum tube train up and running in 3 years.

Cleantechnica readers (or people who stop by for a visit from time to time) love to get on the potential problems of new, revolutionary technology ideas. Any initial criticisms of this one?

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4. Huge 6.7MW Solar Station Meets High-Speed Rail in Shanghai, China

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Timothias

    Evacuated Tube Transport(ETT)although not new was first presented and worked on in the US.But like so many other things these days in the US,the people working on ETT could not get the money to go forward with it.Another loss for the US and a gain for China.Keep an eye on another HUGE first in the US for Solar Roadway.It too could be a life changing technology that I’ll bet the US will not act on.Some other Country will.Sad!

    Google Solar Roadway

  • Jacob

    If anyone can pull this off it’s China, but as it is such a risky flagship, I cannot help but fear that it will go the way of the concord, with one single accident “derailing” the idea for decades.

  • Aaron

    This is an awesome story. Which cities would this be connecting?

  • RB

    There is no maglev train operating in France, the author was thinking about Germany probably…

  • Jason G

    If China can have the world’s most advanced bullet train running in 3 years, why can’t the US even get medium speed rail in place in our major metropolitan areas in the same amount of time? China will own us due to our own inaction.

  • Rod

    Now 1000 km/h is outrageous!! Maglev and vacuum would be both clean tech? The maglev for sure, but to create such vacuum tunnel will take lots of energy.

    I am looking forward to the day that I can hop in a maglev train in Vancouver and get to San Francisco. Does North America even have any maglev trains?? It’s the way to go, no emissions, silent tech.

  • Ben

    While it may be something that is probably too expensive to get wide spread adoption… you have to admit, it’s going to be crazy awesome! After traveling on that train, you can safely say that you have traveled faster than 99.99% of everyone on the planet!

    Much like NASA did, I think a project like could really inspire the next generation of engineers & scientists in China and around the world. That alone could make this project worth it.

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