A Chinese aerospace company announced on Wednesday that it has launched research into floating trains which may one day be able to reach 4,000 kilometers per hour.
The China Aerospace Science and Industry Cooperation (CASIC) will try to combine its supersonic flight technology with rail transportation to develop a new generation of trains, thepaper.cn reported, citing comments made by Liu Shiquan, deputy general manager of CASIC, at a summit held in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province on Wednesday.
Liu said that the trains will have the ability to "fly above the rails" with magnetic levitation technology and travel through vacuum pipelines free of friction.
The super-speed trains may be able to reach a maximum speed of 4,000 kilometers per hour, Liu said. This is over four times faster than modern commercial jets, according to the report. At this speed, the roughly 1,000 kilometer-journey from Beijing to Shanghai, which now takes 4.5 hours via China's high-speed rail, could be shortened to around 15 minutes.
The project will be carried out step by step, with the first step being the development of trains with a maximum speed of 1,000 kilometers per hour, then 2,000 kilometers per hour, and the final step will be reaching 4,000 kilometers per hour, said thepaper.cn's report, citing CASIC.
Besides the future train's incredible speed, it may also be able to protect the environment as it will not use fossil fuel, according to the report.
This is not a totally novel concept however. Billionaire Elon Musk has been a prominent advocate of such technology for several years, which he refers to as a "hyperloop."