A super high-speed transport system with a non-adhesive drive system that is independent of wheel-and-rail frictional forces has been a long-standing dream of railway engineers. Maglev, a combination of superconducting magnets and linear motor technology, realizes super high-speed running, safety, reliability, low environmental impact and minimum maintenance.
Source: Overview of Maglev R&D
The Maglev (magnetic levitation) railway project started 700 days before and on the Dec 31st, 2002, it was launched. This event is covered by lot of medias.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?artid=32861388 http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20021231_1306.html http://asia.cnn.com/2002/BUSINESS/asia/12/31/china.maglev.biz/
I don't care about the news part. I just want to write down my observation about the maglev from my personal perspective.
The maglev project was started with a lot of doubts and uncertainty. I heard both positive and negtive comments on newspaper about the maglev project two years ago before the project actual started. As always, I am on the side to support the project since it seems so cool!
Fast construction speed
I have to say, the speed is very fast to build the railway. It seems so to me since I frequently take flights in Pudong airport in the last two years. I saw the extension of the railways everyday and it is also very soon between the rail is ready and the first trail train went online.
One of the most frequently asked question is "how much does it take?". According to major medias in Shanghai, the standard price is 50 RMB single trip. This is reasonable since it takes about 80-100 RMB for the same distance by taxi. By bus, it is 18 RMB, but it takes much longer. It costs about 40 minutes to go by bus but it only takes 8 minutes to take the maglev. After all, the speed of 430 KM/Hour on land is very attractive.
Currently, it opens for tour only. The price is 150 RMB for normal seats and 300 RMB for VIP seat. This is round trip. The train starts from Longyang Rd. Station, speed up to 430 km/hour and arrives at Pudong Airport. After very short break, the train returns without open the door.
Even when it is purely for tour, people still cannot easily get the tickets. According to local newspaper, the tickets of 2 weeks later has been sold out.
Maglev will open to public for business operation in October,2003. The speed, the fastest speed available on land, will keep attractive for visitors and tourist for a long time. I hope I can have a try later and report my feeling of the high speed to you in my future blog. I did saw the maglev train from outside. I was on the car heading Longyang Rd. Station and saw a maglev training rushing for the opposite direction. It looks really fast. It seems it disappeared from my eyes in 2 seconds.