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China’s new ‘sky train’ LEVITATES on a 10-meter high magnetic track and can glide silently at speeds of up to 80 km/h without electricity
- The Red Rail is the first floating maglev line built with permanent magnets instead of electromagnets
- This means it is more efficient, with only a small amount of electricity needed to propel the train
- The suspended rail operates 10 meters above the ground and the train moves below it at speeds of 80 km/h
- The technological achievement is possible thanks to an abundance of rare earth elements in China
China is known for its futuristic maglev trains, which use electromagnets to propel the vehicles along the track at high speeds.
Now the country has unveiled its first floating maglev line built with permanent magnets, which engineers claim can make a “sky train” float even without a power supply.
The 2600 feet long experimental track, known as the Red Rail, is located in Xingguo Province, Jiangxi Province, Southern China.
It uses powerful magnets to produce a constant repulsive force strong enough to lift an 88-passenger train into the air, according to a report in the South China Morning Mail.
Unlike most existing maglev lines, the hanging rail operates about 33 feet above the ground. There is no physical contact with the rail as the train moves silently underneath it at speeds of up to 80 km/h.
China has unveiled its first floating maglev line built with permanent magnets, which engineers claim can float a ‘sky train’ even without a power supply
The 2600-foot experimental rail, known as the Red Rail, is located in Xingguo Province, Jiangxi Province, Southern China
What are ‘maglev’ trains?
Maglev trains use magnets to lift the wagons above the track.
This eliminates the need for wheels and therefore any kind of friction, making for a faster and quieter service.
Acceleration and deceleration are much greater than those of conventional trains.
And maglev also makes for much smoother travel.
Currently, speeds are limited to a maximum of 400 kilometers (250 miles) per hour due to the excessive drag experienced at these speeds.
But vacuum tube designs will allow them to travel more than seven times faster in the future.
Due to the use of permanent magnets instead of electromagnets and the lack of friction with the track, only a small amount of electricity is needed to propel the train.
The orbit generates much less electromagnetic radiation than traditional maglev lines, which can affect the environment and the health of nearby residents.
It’s also much cheaper to build, with construction costing only about a tenth of what it takes to build a subway, according to researchers at Jiangxi University of Science and Technology.
The technological feat is possible thanks to an abundance of rare earth elements in China, which are needed to make the train’s permanent magnets.
Adding rare earth elements to magnets extends their lifespan significantly. Neodymium, for example, can reduce the loss of magnetism to less than 5 percent in a century.
China is home to nearly 40 percent of the world’s known reserves of rare earth elements — twice as many as its second-largest neighbor Vietnam.
It also mines far more of these metals than any other country — with just six state-run Chinese companies producing 85 percent of the world’s refined rare earths by 2020.
Local transportation authorities are currently testing Red Rail on the 800-meter track in Xingguo, but plan to extend it to 7.7 miles when initial tests are completed.
The speed limit on most domestic subway lines is generally limited to 80 mph, but a permanent magnet magnet train powered entirely by AI could reportedly reach speeds of up to 120 mph.
The use of permanent magnets instead of electromagnets, as well as the lack of friction with the track, means that only a small amount of electricity is needed to propel the train
It uses powerful magnets to produce a constant repulsive force strong enough to lift an 88-passenger train into the air
Last year, China unveiled the prototype of a super-fast bullet train that engineers say could reach 385 mph.
Also known as the ‘super bullet maglev train’, it has more than twice the speed of the Eurostar fleet and can cover the distance between London and Paris in 47 minutes at its maximum speed.
It uses high-temperature superconducting (HTS) maglev technology, different from the low-temperature technology used by Germany and Japan in their maglev trains, according to experts at Southwest Jiaotong University.
The team claims that the Chinese version is lighter with a simpler structure. It is also cheaper to produce and use.
The engineers consider the HTS technology more suited to the futuristic “vacuum transport,” where ultra-fast maglev trains could zip into vacuum tubes at speeds of more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) per hour.
China has more than two-thirds of the world’s high-speed trains
Passengers board a ‘Fuxing’ high-speed train on the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway before it leaves Cangnan Railway Station on Nov. 20, 2017
China has the world’s largest high-speed rail network, measuring a whopping 35,000 kilometers (21,747 miles) in 2019. China Central Television Station.
The distance is more than two thirds of the world total.
The country’s total rail coverage is 139,000 kilometers (86,370 miles), enough to wrap the Earth around the equator three times.
China is investing heavily in the construction of its railway system.
It plans to spend no less than 2.8 trillion yuan (307 billion pounds) on building no less than 23,000 kilometers (14,291 miles) of new railways between 2016 and 2020, according to a report. government plan.
Xinhua News Agency reported that Beijing completed its largest-ever investment in railway construction between 2013 and 2017.
Nearly 30,000 kilometers (18,641 miles) of tracks, more than half of which were high-speed trains, had been completed at a total cost of 3.9 trillion yuan (£428 billion).
The latest model of the country’s high-speed train is “Fuxing,” or “Rejuvenation,” which travels at a speed of 350 kilometers (217 miles) per hour.
The model for ‘Fuxing’ is called ‘Hexie’, which means harmony.