‘Skytrain’ begins trial runs in China

  • The overhead monorail train has a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour, the fastest of its kind in China
  • Engineers say it can perform nearly three times better than normal subway trains
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QINGDAO, Shandong – An overhead monorail train has been put into trial operation in eastern China, the CGTN reports.


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The ‘Skytrain’, which is undergoing trial operation in Qingdao City in Shandong province, has a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour, the fastest of its kind in China.

The train comes with either three or five coaches, with a passenger capacity of 300 and 510 people, respectively.

At a price just one-third that of an underground subway, such trains can reduce the costs of building transportation infrastructure.

The track right above the train is integrated with the “legs” of the train, which protects it from the impacts of bad weather and saves it from the danger of derailment.

Security devices including surveillance system and battery rescue are set to make sure passengers escape quickly and safely in the case of an accident.

“This monorail train uses the latest permanent magnet motor technology, which enables it to have the advantages of larger power, smaller physical volume, lower noise, and lighter weight, thus realising better operating efficiency,” says Liu Yuwen, technical director of the project.

The vehicle turret adopts high-speed railway technologies to minimise bumpiness of train movement and make passengers as comfortable as possible. Two noise absorption layers are utilized to diminish vibration and provide a quiet journey.

Apart from its advantage for sightseeing, the suspension also rules out interference with ground transportation.

As the railway lines are suspended 5 meters above the ground, the sky train is also expected to be an answer to traffic congestion in some of China’s densely populated cities, Liu Yuwen told.

The climbing capacity of suspended monorail is said to be three times more powerful than subways, which makes it extremely suitable for steep terrains and can ascend gradients of 100 meters over a distance of 1000 meters.

Designed as a lightweight, intermediate speed, medium traffic volume and low-cost transport system, it’s expected to have huge market potential in scenic areas, mountainous regions and major cities.

Train’s engineers say it can perform nearly three times better than normal subway trains. Already breaking records, it is considered to be quieter, lighter, more environmentally friendly, less expensive and less massive than the subway.