China has unveiled a new type of maglev train that it claims will be the fastest ground transport service on the planet. The insanely fast train is capable of traveling at up to 600 km/h, which equates to 373 mph. To put that in a bit more perspective, that’s nearly half the speed of sound and faster than some private aircraft.
The train was revealed in Qingdao by its manufacturer, CRRC Corporation, which is owned by the Chinese government. According to its builder, new trains will make the approximately 1200 kilometer trip between Beijing and Shanghai in 3.5 hours, including waiting time. For comparison, the same trip takes a little over two hours by aircraft or 12 hours in a car.
Exactly when the trains will go into service is a mystery right now. There’s also the possibility that the trains could eventually be exported outside of China. CRRC exports trains globally, particularly to countries that are part of the Beijing Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. The high-speed trains can have between two and ten cars.
Each car can hold 100 passengers, depending on how they’re outfitted inside. Interestingly, while China claims the new train is the fastest ground transport vehicle in the world, Japan Railway Company has previously tested its high-speed maglev train reaching a speed of 603 km/h, or 375 mph.
It’s unclear how exactly China is backing up its claim of the fastest ground transportation service. Perhaps they’re basing it on cruise speed, or they believe it can beat the 603 km/h speed Japan recorded. Another interesting tidbit about the bullet train is that it uses something called a “whirlpool” brake system that can slow the train in 10 kilometers, much faster than the 16 kilometers required for other Chinese maglev trains.