Abstract Performance improvement is a long-term research task for the promotion of practical application of promising high-temperature superconducting (HTS) magnetic levitation (maglev) vehicle technologies. We studied the feasibility to enhance the performance of present HTS Maglev systems by introducing ferromagnetic materials to onboard bulk superconductors. The principle here is to make use of the high magnetic permeability of ferromagnetic materials to alter the flux distribution of the permanent magnet guideway for the enhancement of magnetic field density at the position of the bulk superconductors. Ferromagnetic iron plates were added to the upper surface of bulk superconductors and their geometric and positioning effects on the maglev performance were investigated experimentally. Results show that the guidance performance (stability) was enhanced greatly for a particular setup when compared to the present maglev system which is helpful in the application where large guidance forces are needed such as maglev tracks with high degrees of curves.