Shanghai, May 19: Maglev Train to Pudong Airport



The final adventure of our ten day tour was the ride to Pudong International Airport on the world’s only commercially operating magnetic levitation train (there are other demonstration projects, but this is the only one carrying paying passengers in regular scheduled service). This is the world’s fastest train, topping out at 430 km/h (267 mph). Extending 30 km (18.6 miles) from the outskirts of Pudong to the airport, it was built by a German firm, Transrapid, at a cost of $1.2 billion. It doesn’t operate at a profit, and it isn’t particularly convenient as a means of getting from Shanghai to the airport. But it is a real thrill to ride on it, and there are plenty of passengers willing to pay 40 RMB ($6.00) for a fast smooth train ride similar to flying in a jet aircraft. Electromagnets suspend the cars about 1 cm (0.4 in.) above the guideway surface.



The Station


The Guideway (also known as the "track")

Train approaching

The Approaching Train


The Interior

6 km/h

Starting to Accelerate

430 km/h

Soon, 430 km/h (267 mph)


Arrival, 9 Minutes After Departure

Airport ceiling

The Terminal at Pudong International Airport