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China debuts the world’s first high-temp maglev prototype

The world’s first high-temperature superconducting high-speed maglev engineering prototype and its test line were launched on January 13, 2021 at Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu. Epitomizing a landmark step forward, the prototype is designed and developed independently by China based on the original technology of Southwest Jiaotong University.

Many new technologies are incorporated in the prototype, such as the ones for full carbon fiber lightweight body, low resistance locomotive shape, and high temperature superconducting maglev with large load capacity. At the design speed of 620 km/h, the vehicle is expected to create a new speed record for land transportation in atmospheric environment and in future bring proactive and disruptive changes to rail transit industry with the application of low vacuum tube (tunnel) technology.  

Southwest Jiaotong University, the birthplace of the high temperature superconducting maglev technology, has predominated in the basic theoretical research and key technology innovation since the 1980s. In 2020, the University collaborated with China Railway Rolling Corporation (CRRC), China Railway Group Limited, and other institutions and companies, embarked on the manufacture of the prototype and test line, and built the integrated high-temperature superconducting high-speed maglev transit system.