World's first commercial magplane line set

Source: China Online; May 3, 2002

Note: Magplane Technology of the U.S. reports that it is licensing the technology to the Chengdu Manufacturing Joint Venture for use in China. The CorporateBank Business Group in Washington, DC are the principle shareholders in the Joint Venture, with four Chinese partners holding the remainder of shares. Magplane Technology, Inc will supply the ready-to-manufacture design to the Joint Venture and will supply engineering services during the manufacture and implementation. All components except the control systems will be manufactured in China; the control systems will be built in the US and supplied to the Joint Venture for integration into the system.

The world's first commercial magnetic-levitation plane (magplane) line is to be established in China's Sichuan province and be operational for the Beijing Olympic Games.

The magplane production base will be set up in either Xindu or Longquan in Chengdu. The Chengdu Feimei Magplane Co. (CFM) announced on May 1 that the plans for China's first magplane operation line have been finalized.

Yang Zhijian, CFM shareholder and vice chairman and general manager of Sichuan Zhineng Rare Earth Group, said that the site for the 100-hectare (247 acre) magplane production base will be selected soon. Construction is scheduled to begin in August, according to yesterday's Tianfu Zaobao (Tianfu Morning News).

The commercial magplane line, designed to span more than 40 kilometers (25 miles), will have double magways for two-way transportation. The magplane will levitate above the rails at a proposed height of 18 centimeters (7 inches).

Yang said that there are currently no commercial magplane lines, which are much different from experimental lines, in the world. "The average cost will be only one-third of that of a subway line," Yang said.

The project will involve a total investment of US$800 million.

Moving on thin air

CFM was jointly launched last September by four Chengdu enterprises, including Sichuan Zhineng Rare Earth Group and Chengdu Airplane Group, and the U.S.-based Commercial Cooperation Bank. Yang said that CFM is expected to go public in July.

The company will invest US$80 million to set up the magplane production base, which will be able to produce 420 magplanes, a market value of 10 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion), each year.

Magplanes provide a new means of high-speed land transport, consisting of an advanced technology in which magnetic forces lift and propel vehicles over a track. Unlike maglev trains, the automatic control systems, rudders, cabins and satellite-positioning systems of the magplanes are designed according to airplane standards.

The magplanes are designed to have a maximum speed of 500 kilometers per hour (311 miles per hour). However, the magplane would travel at a speed of approximately 60 kilometers per hour (37 miles per hour) in metropolitan areas.

The first magplane will roll off the production line in 2004. It will be able to carry 150 passengers.

Copyright 2001. China Online

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Last modified: December 15, 2004