CHINA / Regional

City plans to build maglev test line
By Zhu Chengpei
Updated: 2006-07-31 09:13

DALIAN: Engineers in Dalian, a port city in Northeast Liaoning Province, say they plan to build a magnetic levitation (maglev) train test line later this year.

With core technologies developed by a permanent magnetic levitation team, a newly-invented magnetic engine will drive the train on a 3-kilometre-long railway to be built in the city's development zone, said Li Lingqun, chief engineer of the team.

Li said they are currently considering the exact site of the line.

Different from electromagnetic suspension and superconducting magnet technology as used in Germany and Japan, the Dalian maglev will use the newer permanent magnet (permagnet) mechanism.

This technology has proven successful in the workshop, Li said, as the train moved soundlessly through the air above the rails.

The team has made two types of engines: One has a top speed of 218 kilometres per hour and an optimum speed of 140 kilometres per hour, making it suitable for metropolitan services. The other has a maximum speed of 536 kilometres per hour.

The test line will be built for the low-speed train, Li said, adding that they are seeking counterparts for a high-speed test line in another part of the country.

"Combined with the abundant resources of permanent magnetic materials in China, our technology will be about 50 per cent cheaper than that of foreign countries'," Li said.

Li began his studies 18 years ago when he worked in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in Northwest China. He and his team invested their own money in the project before they gained support from the Dalian municipal government in 2003.

In December 2004 they tested their first train with satisfactory results.

So far they have applied for more than 50 patents, with three authorized in China and another three in the United States and Germany.

(China Daily 07/31/2006 page3)


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