CHINA: The first complete five-car maglev trainset designed for 600 km/h operation was formally rolled out by CRRC Qingdao Sifang on July 20.


Described by the manufacturer as ‘another important milestone’ in the five-year research and development programme backed by the Chinese government, the event comes a year after the first test run with a prototype vehicle on June 21 2020 using a 1∙5 km guideway at Tonghi University in Shanghai.

CRRC reported that its engineers ‘have completed the integration of the maglev transportation system’ over the intervening period, allowing successful test running with the full five-car set.


The prototype is equipped for automatic train operation to Grade of Automation 3, with an onboard attendant rather than a driver. The control systems have been designed to meet the requirements of Safety Integrity Level 4. CRRC told local media that the programme had enabled China to ‘master a complete set of high speed maglev train engineering technologies’, making it ‘a transport superpower’.


As part of the 3·2bn yuan project, a 5 km test track and research centre has been developed in the Qingdao area, close to the Sifang factory complex. However, this only allows the train to operate at relatively low speeds. Development of a longer track suitable for high speed running is envisaged as the next phase of the programme.

CRRC envisages that the high speed maglev technology will be ready for commercial operation in five to 10 years, depending on the construction of suitable routes.


The government is reportedly considering the development of up to nine maglev lines to form a network of more than 1 000 route-km. Three routes are being assessed as preferred options for an initial application: a 164 km corridor between Shanghai and Hangzhou, a 110 km line linking Guangzhou with Shenzhen, and a Chengdu – Chongqing connection.