Japan's LO maglev train, currently clocked at around 311 miles per hour, has garnered news for years as the world's fastest train. By the time the LO begins service in 2027, however, another maglev project may be well on its way to shattering that speed record. At Southwest Jiaotong University, in the central Chinese province of Sichuan, Dr. Deng Zigang has been working on something called a high-temperature superconducting magnetic levitation train, or a super-maglev for short.
The single-car super-maglev prototype, sitting upon its domed test track, looks a bit like an over-sized child's plaything. But it's no plaything. In fact, the bitty little train and its enclosed track are designed to keep the maglev track at just the right temperature, ensuring the best possible test results. The tunnel also allows Dr. Zigang to remove the air, and therefore the air resistance, from the train's path.
Tests so far have progressed slowly, with simulations showing that the super-maglev will eventually be capable of speeds of at least 373 miles per hour. In itself, that top speed would be 62 miles per hour faster than Japan's best efforts, but Dr. Zigang isn't through yet. Given an ideal setting, a "perfect world" if you will, the super-maglev could eventually reach a massive top speed of 621 miles per hour.
The only train concept that has even mentioned being capable of reaching speeds higher than that is Elon Musk's Hyperloop moonshot. Seeing as how Dr. Zigang has been working on his version of the tech for a few years now, we're betting that China will beat Mr. Musk to building these insanely fast future trains.