The test runs on China’s first ‘sky train’ have taken place this week in Chengdu in China’s southwest Sichuan Province.
The train, painted black and white to resemble a panda, hangs from a rail eight metres above ground and was put through its paces along a 1.4km track.
Tests will continue over a three-month period and will be vital to the future development of this revolutionary method of transportation.
Zhai Wanming, Chief Designer of the sky train, commented: “This trial operation is key to creating a new rail traffic standard. We will test and improve the system parameters during the trial and draw up a technical standard for this type of rail transportation before releasing it to the market.”
The train is capable of travelling at speeds of up to around 37mph, similar to that of regular subway trains and will have a capacity of up to 200 people.
This particular sky train is unique in that it is powered by lithium batteries rather than high-voltage electricity used in Germany and Japan.
Wanming was keen to highlight the environmental and safety advantages of the sky train. He said: “The train is free from the traditional system of high-tension power transmission and transformation. It runs along the closed track on a lifted box girder and thus will not be troubled by problems such as derailment. It will never crash into barriers as the cars are running on the special railway. So we could say it is a very safe mean of transportation.”
The Company behind the project, Zhongtang Skytrain Group, is hoping the train will be in use on two different routes – one going to the city’s main tourist attractions and the other a 20km stretch running from Shuangliu Airport to the centre of Shuangliu county.
Tang Tong, Chairman of Zhongtang Sky Train Group, commented: “The first demonstration line for the sky train will be built in Chengdu city center or Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in about half a year. The construction of a line is expected to take about six to eight months.”
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