China Plans 600mph Maglev Train

China's public transport plans can only be described as impressive.

Chinese-based Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment has proposed the creation of a road-straddling bus that cars can drive under. The mega bus would have the capability of carrying 1200-1400 riders at a time. Passengers will be able to enter and exit the bus using terminals which span the road allowing for traffic to continue under the bus while it is stopped. Another option is to have passengers enter the bus using a built-in ladder.

There are two ways the company proposes for the bus to be piloted safely. Rails can be installed on both sides of a car lane or white lines can be painted on both sides of the bus which would allow autopilot technology to be used. The rail method is preferred since it offers a 30% energy savings.

And now, the Chinese are planning a series of maglev trains capable of 600+ miles per hour, to be rolled out within the next two to three years. They plan to achieve these speeds by having the trains run inside sealed vacuum tubes to reduce friction to an absolute minimum. The trains themselves would be pressurised like airliners.

While this is not a new idea - a similar proposal has been made for a tethered maglev line across the Atlantic - China is the only nation on the planet demonstrating some idea of where they want to take their nation. They already have operational maglev transport, which currently holds the world speed record for rail transport at 313mph. They have just claimed the world speed record for conventional rail as well, at 260mph.

Isn't it time for British companies and universities to be working on this kind of high tech engineering once again?