China says its bullet trains will soon be able to reach 500 km/h

China has announced that’s it’s developed new technology that will help its bullet trains reach an ultra-fast 500 km/h. That isn’t quite as fast as Japan’s Maglev trains, which hit record-breaking speeds of 590 km/h earlier this year, but it’s more than twice the top speed of most trains in the US, and more than three times that of Australia’s rail network. And in a win for the local economy, the technology is all its own.

“Now we have our own permanent magnet synchronous traction system with full intellectual property rights, marking a new chapter in China’s high-speed railways,” Ding Rongjun, head of the Zhuzhou Institute in the country’s Hunan province, where the technology was developed, told China Daily.

So what’s a permanent magnet synchronous traction system? It’s basically a motor that uses permanent magnets rather than a magnetic field created by windings of the rotor to propel the train forward. That means the new 690-kilowatt traction system has significantly fewer parts and is lighter and more efficient, allowing China’s already-speedy bullet trains to go 50 percent faster.But unlike the Maglev system, the train remains in contact with the track, and so is still subject to the effects of friction.  Source: China says its bullet trains will soon be able to reach 500 km/h

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