Image copyright AFP Image caption The new train sets speed records
The Chinese National Railway says it has become the first country to launch a prototype of a train running at Mach 1.6mph (1.9km per hour).
The shoddy-looking locomotive features gaps, crumpled metal and broken elements such as plate on the floor.
The demonstration train was driven at top speed by a Chinese man in place of an engineer because of safety concerns.
Wu Yanpeng, who was also the first passenger to use the train, applauded the innovation.
“It’s great. I feel I’m in a race against time. It’s a train that can keep up with me. That makes me feel proud,” he said.
Image copyright AFP Image caption The design is the work of Wan Xiangqing, designer of the Bullet Train from Beijing to Guangzhou
The 70-second test run of the Mach 1.6 prototype carried Mr Wu – along with 12 other passengers – just 240 metres (700 feet) from the station at Binhai, on the outskirts of Beijing.
The launch of the new technology comes as China builds new railway lines to connect the country’s far-flung regions.
Other trains travelling at Mach 1.6mph have been built by manufacturers such as Siemens and Bombardier and have tested at a speed of about 105km (65 miles) per hour.
People’s Daily – the flagship newspaper of the ruling Communist Party – hailed the railway ministry’s creation of a “real machine”.
Foreign visitors were not allowed to ride the train during the test. However, the China Daily newspaper reported that some were encouraged to ‘self-experiment’ while watching a ceremony featuring Chinese technology innovations.
Image copyright AFP Image caption The train was driven with the assistance of an engineer
The prototype’s creator said that technical innovations were necessary as the country tries to catch up with other technology nations.
However, some people reacted angrily, and accused the government of wasting Chinese taxpayers’ money.
Image copyright AFP Image caption Some observers criticised the government over the money wasted on the test run
“It’s more like a modern fairground thrill ride than a real breakthrough,” said China Daily columnist Fang Lu after the test run.
Xinhua, the state news agency, meanwhile described the locomotive’s technical features as the most ambitious of its kind ever created.