New Brazilian rail prototype competes with German and Chinese technology

World Today

Rio de Janiero has a prototype for a new kind of train. Tests have begun for Brazil’s superconducting, magnetic-levitation rail.
The technology behind it is on-track to compete with similar projects in Germany and China.

CGTN’s Lucrecia Franco reports.

Follow Lucrecia C. Franco on Twitter @LucreciaFranco

The 200-meter experimental line might seem short, but the Brazilian train is enough to show the world’s most modern technology when it comes to superconducting magnetic levitation trains. 

The first working prototype of the Maglev-Cobra train is open to the public, connecting two technological buildings in Rio’s Federal University campus. The train runs one centimeter above the ground. Instead of wheels, it has superconductors that repel the magnetic rails so it floats in the air.

China and Germany are developing similar projects, but Brazil’s technology is the most advanced.

“The main difference between our project and the projects in Germany and in China is that ours is already outside the laboratory not inside,” says the Richard Stephan, project coordinator and professor of the post-graduation program – Coppe – at Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University

The train is powered by electricity and designed especially for high-density urban centers. The testing speed is about 12 kilometers an hour, but it will be able to reach speeds of 100 kilometers an hour in urban areas.

The prototype developed by Rio’s Federal University is the result of more 15 years of research and has several advantages. It is non-polluting, silent and stable. The next step is to test it on longer tracks. But to make that viable, Stephan is counting on partnering with China.

“We are in fact in contact with some investors in China, some colleagues from research centers in China to try to turn this prototype into a real scale operating system,” Stephan said.

The tests will continue until the prototype is certified, then it will be ready to move into production.