The future of short-mid range travel is not by air. Elon Musk himself acknowledges this fact and even pitched the idea of Hyperloop system. China knew very well of this fact too which explains the country’s obsession with rail network with astounding speeds. The latest is this: a magnetic levitation (Maglev) train prototype unveiled by China state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) that is capable of topping out at 600 km/h (372 mph), almost doubling the current Beijing-Shanghai line’s top speed of 350 km/h (217 mph).
The prototype rolled off the assembly line in easter Chinese city of Qingdao. The train will see extensive testing and if all go as planned, commercial production will begin in 2021. So how fast exactly is 600 km/h? Well, to put things in perspective, the current journey between Beijing and Shanghai takes about 4.5 hours by air and 5.5 hours by high-speed rail, but with this 600 km/h speeding hunk of metal that essentially floats, it will take just 3.5 hours.
Even though the cruising speed of a passenger jet is 800-900 km/h (497-559 mph), this new speed demon wins by the fact that it does not require preparations like waiting for clearance to takeoff and landing, taxiing (and waiting to be taxied), waiting for the passenger boarding bridge (PBB) to connect and whatnot. All it does is going to station to station and that’s that.
There is an added boon here: more often than not, trains do not require you to turn up an hour or two in advanced which flights do. Talk about efficiency.