What a time to be alive. Researchers in China have successfully carried out a systematic test on a cutting-edge hyperloop-like train. And stay tuned as the team is just getting started.
The science and other stuff to know
A train that “would almost fly”. That’s what experts have dubbed the latest high-speed train that was successfully tested by scientists at the North University of China. The team tested the train along a roughly 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) test track, in which the train was levitated above magnetic rails inside “low vacuum tubes”, according to local news outlet China Daily.
During the test, the maglev train reached speeds of up to 130 km/h (80 mph). The team wants to eventually construct a full-scale, 60-kilometer (37-mile) test track and have the train reach speeds of up to 100 km/h (621 mph).
The full-scale track will allow the testing of trains at speeds up to 621 miles (1,000 km) an hour. Such speeds are possible since it uses maglev technology that allows the train to be suspended on magnetic tracks.
But this team in China is taking the technology to the next level by placing the tracks in low vacuum tubes. The complete lack of air resistance or friction allows the trains to travel rapidly and efficiently. With no rails and wheels, the levitated train creates virtually no sound, providing a comfortable commute.
Perhaps the most notorious maglev tube-based train concept is Elon Musk’s “hyperloop,” which he first proposed back in 2012. A year later, the billionaire released a white paper that conceptualized such a system running between Los Angeles and San Francisco in the U.S. Despite plenty of optimism, however, we’re yet to see a full-scale hyperloop system being built.
Meanwhile, another tech company has an ambitious plan of creating levitated hyperloop train connecting populous cities in Europe, Africa, and Asia.