A Chinese company is developing low- and medium-speed maglev train with hopes that it may offer a new option for urban transport, local media reported Wednesday.
Although research and development work will be completed in April this year, a locomotive has been in testing over the past eight years, traveling some 30,000 km on test tracks.
China Daily said the train with a top speed of 120 km per hour was developed by the Beijing Enterprises Holdings Maglev Technology Development Co. Ltd., in cooperation with the National University of Defense Technology.
"The maglev train will be ready to go into mass production once it has completed 100,000 test kilometers," the English-language newspaper quoted the company's chairman Liu Zhiming as saying.
However, the company has yet secured a commercial contract, though Shenzhen city in south China approached the company and asked it to conduct a feasibility study into the use of the maglev technology for the planned urban rail project, said the newspaper.
Shanghai, China's financial hub, is the only Chinese city operating commercial high-speed maglev line. The Shanghai Maglev Train using German technology was put in use in early 2003, with the maximum normal operation speed of 430 km per hour, said the company's website.
The technology used on the low-to-medium speed maglev, however, was wholly developed in China. Experts believe the train would offer huge potential for public transport, because it is cheaper than subway to build and run, and is less noisy.
At present, only Japan has a low-to-medium maglev line in commercial operation. The United States and the Republic of Korea were also developing similar technology, according to a report of Beijing Daily.