BEIJING – China has revealed its plans to soon build a supersonic ‘flying train’ capable of reaching speeds of up to 4000km/h.
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The state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) made the announcement this week, as it unveiled plans for an intercity train that will travel at the slower pace of 950km/h, according to a report in South China Post.
During an annual commercial aerospace summit, CASC deputy general manager Liu Shiquan said they were researching trains of the future that would be able to “fly on the ground”.
The scientists claim their new train will rival the new Hyperloop system being built by billionaire Elon Musk.
According to the state-owned news website The Paper, the CASC’s previous experience building rockets, satellites and missiles has enabled them to start work on the project.
They are liaising with 20 other research institutes in China and abroad in order to build the new train.
China already has more high speed railways than any other country, and trains travelling from Beijing to Shanghai will be able to reach speeds of up to 350km/h from next month.
The new trains are expected to be considerably more successful than the “Land Airbus” that was claimed to be in the testing stage in China last year.
Elon Musk’s Hyperloop train, which the Chinese are hoping to top, has been described as “a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun and an air hockey table”.
Removing almost all friction from the technology means the Hyperloop could reportedly carry passengers at 1220km/h – within 16km/h of the speed of sound – with unmanned pods able to top 1300km/h.
Musk recently posted on Instagram that SpaceX’s own pod topped 220 mph and might try for 310 mph next month. While that speed might be much less than what he had envisioned, it is still far ahead of what the Chinese scientists are working on.