On June 21, the 600km/h high-speedmaglev prototype train, built by the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC)Sifang Co., Ltd. and co-developed with Tongji University, successfully completed its test run on the maglev test track at the Jiading campus of Tongji University, which marked an important breakthrough in China’s high-speed maglev research and development.
On the high-speed maglev test track, the maglev prototype trainhad its first system debugging and extensive testing under the multiple situations, including different track beams and turnouts, minimum curve radius, ramp, and range switching. More than 200 testsof seven categories wereundertaken on key dynamic performances such as levitation and guidance, speed and position detection, rail coupling, ground traction, and train-ground telecommunications.The test results showed thatthe train’s key performance indicatorshad met its design standards andexpectations.The successful test run of theprototype train, marking a breakthrough in initiating its operation,helped researchers obtain data, which will provide important technical support for the future development and optimization of the high-speed maglev engineering prototypetrain.
According the person from Tongji University responsible for the project, the successful test run came after 20-year relentless efforts made by researchers with the National Maglev Transportation Engineering R&D Center (the Maglev Center hereafter), Tongji University in cooperation with other research teams and related parties at home with firm support fromthe Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of China andrelated parties in Shanghai.
As early as 2000, to support the construction and operation of world’s first commercially operated high-speed maglev line-- the Shanghai high-speed maglev demonstration line between Longyang Road and Pudong International Airport, MOST initiated aplan to establish a Maglev Center. Special projects for theNational High-tech R&D Program (863 Program) were set up during the “10th Five-year Plan” periodfor support.Since then, the Maglev Center has started to do research on the localization and innovation of maglev transportation technologyby joining hands with other research teams.During the “10th Five-Year Plan” period, the Maglev Center led the research teamsin developing and buildinga high-speed maglev test track located at the Jiading Campus of Tongji University, the only one in the world with a normal-conducting long-stator maglev transportation system that extended for 1.5 kilometers. The test trackmake different test conditions possible for the R&D of the high-speed maglev transportation technology, system integration, software debugging, component performance assessment and optimization.During the following “11th Five-Year Plan” and “12th Five-Year Plan” periods, a localized prototype train (with four carriages) at 500 km/h in speed was developed by the Maglev Center andput in operation on the demonstration line, with linear motors, turnouts localized.During the “12th Five-Year Plan” period, to safeguard the operation of the maglev demonstration line, research was conductedto replace the imported key components as well as maintenance and test equipment, with the localization rate at 95%.Backed up by strong research, the Shanghai high-speed maglev demonstration line has maintained continuously safe and stable operationfor nearly 18 years without its trains being returned to the factory for overhaul.As of December 31, 2019, the demonstration line has been in safe operation for 6,210 days and carried 59.94 million passengers, with a cumulative safe operation of 19.85 million kilometers and an on-time performance of 99.86%.At present, the National High-tech R&D Program during the “13th Five-year Plan” period supported technically by CRRC Corporation Ltd. and CRRC Sifang Co., Ltd., aims at developing the core technology of the high-speed maglev, in particular, a 600 km/h high-speed maglev engineering system with independent intellectual property rights to realize the industrialization of high-speed maglev trains in China.
During the time of four five-year plans from the “10th Five-Year Plan” to “13th Five-Year Plan”, the Maglev Center has been oriented to the national needs and kept track of technological forefront. It hasplayed an active role as an R&D base, a testing base, a base for engineering technology reserve, and industrialization promotionof China’s maglev transportation technology. No matter what difficulties the researchers at the Maglev Center came across, they stayed focused and committed to cooperation among enterprises, universitiesand research institutes, and tothe independent innovation.
Over the past two decades, people at the Maglev Center have worked very hard and made outstanding achievements in high-speed and medium-and low-speed maglev transportation technology.Besides, the Maglev Center independently developed a1.72km-long, medium-and low-speed maglev engineering test tracklocated in Lin-gang Special Area, China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, Shanghai. It was the first engineering test track in China with comprehensive performancetest capability, which was used to test the key equipment of the medium-and low-speed maglev trainsfor companies such as CRRC Corporation Limited and China Railway Group Limited.The test track also enabled the Maglev Center to provide full technical support for Changsha Maglev Express Project, and the first medium-and low-speed maglev project in China, including design, construction, system debugging, operation and maintenance, as well as technical support for the manufacturing of key equipment such as rails and trains.The levitation and control technology and turnout technology independently developed by the Maglev Center were transformed and applied in the Changsha Maglev Express Projectand were awarded the first prize for Scientific and Technological Progress in Hunan Province and the first prize for Technological Invention in Hubei Province, respectively.
The successful test run of the 600 km/h high-speed maglev prototype traingreatly encouraged all those who have been committed to the maglev research and development to work harder together with one heart and forge ahead.In the future, the Maglev Center will continue to focus on the national needs andoffer its service to the constructionthe Shanghai Technology Innovation Center (STIC). It will take advantages of Tongji University’s strengths in transportation in developing its independent R&D and testing capability of key technologiesfor the low-speed, medium-speed, high-speed and ultra-high-speed maglevtrain series. In addition, the Maglev Center will organize training of maglev professionals and build a brand of “Tongji Maglev” tomake Tongji contributions toturning China into a country withpowerful transportation.