Shanghai’s maglev train runs between Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the Longyang Road metro station, also in Pudong. A one-way trip takes less than ten minutes and costs 50 RMB. I took the maglev just for the experience.
The train departs daily every 15 to 20 minutes depending on the time of day. Check the Shanghai maglev webiste for departure times. The train reaches its maximum operating speed of 430 km/hr (267 mph) ONLY DURING CERTAIN HOURS. Most of the time, the train operates at a lower speed of 300 km/hr (186 mph). Unfortunately for me, I did not know this information when I took the train. However, moving at 300 km/hr was still exciting.
The front of the train looks badass. In fact, all high-speed trains look badass from the front. It has to do with the aerodynamic design of the train’s nose.
Looking closely at the front of the train, one can see that a lot of bugs are squashed along the way. I can only imagine what the cockpit view is like as the train hurtles along while floating on air.
The inside of the maglev was clean and spacious. The seats were big and quite comfy. When the magnetic levitation system was activated, I felt the train rise up. When the train was moving, I felt a little bit of a floating sensation. The ride was smoother than a conventional train.
There were not many people on the train. I had a row of seats all to myself, as did some of the other passengers. There was also no wait to buy a ticket. I was told that the train is rarely filled to capacity.
On it’s trip between stations, the train banks a few times at surprisingly steep angles. Not sure why the track was engineered that way but it makes for a more interesting ride, that’s for sure. For a short stretch, the train briefly passes alongside a roadway. Staring out the window, I saw that the cars on the roadway looked like they were barely moving. At that moment, I really had a sense of just how fast the train was traveling. Without that additional reference, the train did not feel like it was going very fast.
The track itself was a curiosity to me. Instead of rails, there is a cement track with two channels. The cement track is called a guideway. During operation, the train floats above the guideway.
For an explanation of the technology used in Shanghai’s maglev train, check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmsvzOV7iXM