This Article is From Jan 21, 2012

China makes its own magnetic train

Beijing: A Chinese locomotive company has rolled out the country's first home-made magnetically levitated (maglev) train that creates less pollution than the conventional ones and ideal for transport in the urban and ecologically fragile tourist areas.

The low-cost three-carriage train is designed to run at a maximum speed of 100 km per hour and carry 600 passengers, Xinhua news agency reported. Trains run on coal or diesel create more pollution.

Maglev also runs quietly, said Xu Zongxiang, general manager of the Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co. Ltd., maker of the train in central Hunan province.

A conventional train moves forward by using friction between its wheels and the track. The maglev replaces wheels by electromagnets and levitates on the guideway.

"It's ideal for mass transportation, as it is quiet and environment-friendly. Its manufacturing cost is about 75 percent of a conventional light-rail train," said Xu.

Maglev has a minimum turning radius of 50 meters and can run easily in the residential areas or on the hilly slopes. "It's an ideal public transport option for Chinese cities and major tourist destinations," said Xu.

Railway transport specialist Liu Youmei said the new train is green, economical and safe. "It can be used for public transport in populous areas and at scenic spots with fragile environment."

Liu said China is one of a few countries that used maglev technology.

Beijing is currently building a maglev route that will be operational next year, Xinhua said.

Currently, a German-made maglev train is operated in Shanghai city. It went into operation Dec 31, 2002.