MagLev May Extend to Hangzhou

According to the recent news report, the Maglev may extend to Hangzhou via Shanghai Expo 2010 site. The two cities with 2 hour train’s ride now may be reduced to 27 minute’s of Maglev’s ride.

The Maglev train is about 4 km away from my current home. If it extends, it will goes along the Long Yang road. There is no obvious direct compact to my life yet. Maybe the only one is, when I drive across the Long Yang Road to work everyday, I may frequently see the fast train flying on the track everyday. Although Maglev has been in operation for more than one year, I am still very excited when I see a Maglev train “flys” away when I drive on the A20 express way to Pudong Airport (or back). It is with proud to introduce the 430 KM/H peek speed to friends coming to my city.

I spent some time to report on Maglev. Among positive comments, there is negative one like this: Maglev – A Failure?. Anyway, at the time when it seems the decision of to extend it to Hangzhou was made, my best wishes to the new Maglev project and hope it will bring more economical miracle to Hangzhou, Shanghai and towns along the line.

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38 thoughts on “MagLev May Extend to Hangzhou

  1. PC

    Magnetic levitation is probably the most expensive way of transporting the least amount of load.” — and as such, unlikely to catch on anywhere in the world except perhaps for certain “prestigious” projects – quote from Hazra Mohammed Fazle Awal, C.Eng, MIEE (UK).

    It’s obvious that in their race to make Shanghai a “showcase” to foreigners, the local government is not taking economic costs into consideration when building the Maglev. When I was living in Shanghai last year, I never went to Pudong airport via the Maglev. It’s inconvenient and expensive. If I spend that kind of money, I might as well take a taxi. It’s obvious that Maglev is bleeding money.

    These “white elephant” projects always look good and impressive and can be used to show off to foreigners as a sign of “progress” of the city. However, in reality, these are artificial progress. Just think what all these wasted money can do to help the poor in rural areas, for education, for water which China is grossly lacking, for electricity etc. instead of making officials look good.

    A few years ago, Nobel laurate Milton Freeman toured Shanghai. Freeman was very impressive with the progress of China in an earlier visit. He thought China was on the right track by de-regulating the agricultural sector and freeing price controls etc. The officials thought they would impress Freeman with the Pudong financial district development. When Freeman saw what the government did in Pudong, he told them they were doing what the Russians used to do, i.e. buidling “empty” show case village to impress the Shah and foreigners when they visited. He told them this did not create REAL economic wealth.

  2. David S.

    Shanghai government officials need to plan realistically about the city’s future. Over spending and building public projects can result in negative economic consequences. Just look at Japan starting the early 1990’s, with too much money spent on unnecessary public works. The MagLev is a total waste of money. It proves nothing about China’s huge potential and talent pool. I visited Pudong financial district 4 years ago. Sure, lots of new skyscrappers and modern office buildings, BUT they were ALL empty! I hope the situation has improved now. Shanghai needs a curb on constructing more unnecessary office buildings, otherwise, Pudong will look like a deserted and ghostly futuristic city.

  3. Daniel

    Yea, yea, yea – but you can’t deny how incredibly cool the Maglev is! 5 minutes from Longyang to the airport, worth my 50 kuai anytime. I’ve caught it 5 times in the last 6 months. I’m addicted. Whenever friends come to visit and arrive at Pudong the first thing I do is take them on the Maglev.

  4. Daniel

    Yea, yea, yea – but you can’t deny how incredibly cool the Maglev is! 5 minutes from Longyang to the airport, worth my 50 kuai anytime. I’ve caught it 5 times in the last 6 months. I’m addicted. Whenever friends come to visit and arrive at Pudong the first thing I do is take them on the Maglev.

  5. jeremy

    what time does the maglev run? perhaps its because i tend to arrive in the evenings but each time i’ve flown in to shanghai the maglev station is closed.

  6. Jian Shuo Wang

    You are right – each time you fly to Shanghai the maglev station is closed. It happens to me, too. I only have one chance to take maglev although I go to Pudong Airport back and forth every month (if not every week) recently. It closes at 5:20 PM

  7. Stephen

    Mr. Wang,

    The erection of Maglev may never materialize in the free market due lack of revenue support and loading factor, but in the planned economic like China who can use public funding to reach it’s goal despite the economic return, I don’t know whether you call it aggressive or dictatorial ruling.

    After spending over 10 billions in building the airport shuttle in Shanghai, China found the core technology still in the hand of Germany and requested additional EU200 million for complete tranfer. Last november, five Maglev Chinese engineers caught trespassing into the restricted area of the Shanghai Maglev depot. The German staff cannot arrest these people but the entire event was transcribed and has transfered to diplomatic level.

    The Maglev has reached deep in the China’s pocket and offer little in return, should Handzhou extension be built, it is the people of Shanghai who will eventually foot the bill. Do you think people in Shanghai can afford it?

    Stephen

  8. zhang

    PC, I agreed that the Shanghai local government can’t wait to showing off its new money. But I believe if British got the same handsome amount of cash, they will build such project in London too, rather than the ugly and stupid cheaply made “London Eye”.

  9. PC

    Zhang,

    It’s not that the British government doesn’t have the same amount of cash. They do as Britain, on a per capita basis, is a far richer country than China. Britain is a democracy and their government officials are accountable to the people. If they “waste” tax payer money building these white elephant projects, they will lose their job eventually.

    The same thing does not happen in China, which is a centrally planned economy. Therefore there is a lot of wastage in capital allocation by corrupted government officials.

    And by the way, the cash that the Shanghai government is using to subsidize that loss making Maglev belongs to YOU, the tax paying people of China.

  10. jeremy

    If the Maglev technology is just too expensive to be self-sustainable in a free market, then why is Germany being so restrictive with allowing China access to the technology? Surely allowing more applications with less control is better than having full control over nothing.

  11. Stephen

    Mr. Wang,

    Something is missing here, none of the reports have mentioned what is the budget in building the Shanghai/Hongzhou Maglev, I hope it is not an open end project.

    If the PVG shuttle has spent 10 billions in building and the utilizing is so low, what will happen to a longer Maglev can serve the people. I hope it is intended as a toy laces over the expo 2010.

    Stephen

  12. Jian Shuo Wang

    Well. It seems the project is heavily doubted here, especially for readers from or coming from abroad. I agree the decision making proccess itself is not transparent enough. Who knows? I have no idea about the ending part of this story. Will the Maglev really be extended to Hangzhou, or it is just another piece of news with an opening but not an ending.

  13. Stephen

    Zhang & PC,

    Bristish government will not spend money on Maglev, but they did on Millennium Dome which also a white elephant. Have you ever see a bureaucrat operate a success business?

    Stephen

  14. Andy

    I recently visited Shanghai and enjoyed the Maglev train twice (both directions). In my opinion, it is the smartest way of travelling from pudong airport to any hotel situated in Pudong area. It is fast, clean, not-crowded and efficient. And it’s cheap and exciting too. I wish, they would extend it to city center somehow…

    -Andy-

  15. carsten

    Sorry jianshuo, this is news, but not really hot news

    see http://www.transrapid.de/pdf/TR_aktuell_E_1004.pdf

    Let’s hope that this project will be only a one-timer.

    I never hope that they will extend any part of the track.

    That will just be more “party show off”, not beneficial for the common people.

    Yes, it is the “People’s Republic of China” taxpayers money that made it possible.

    When you ride it, then take a glimpse look of the poor farmers along the track, then think of the poor peoples conditions in this extremely economic diverse country (make me sick sometimes).

    I am using the Mag frequently because of fun and because I believe it is safer than the taxi’s here, but not safe enough for commercial use.

    Sitting in high-strength seats with the face opposite of driving direction is a minimum MUST to survive any accident at 430 km/t.

    You may check the extreme seating safety of Formula 1 drivers

    (even though they “only” goes 300km/h…)

    Some chinese think it’s ok to just take technology from others companies for free…

    Face it – China only bought the TRAIN, not the production technology of it.

    If it was to buy the technology, they would have to buy the entire Thyssen-Krupp company.

    And that has a quite different price tag on it than the 10 Giga Yuan.

    See http://www.thyssenkrupp-transrapid.de/_en/home.htm

    The technology is being discussed before at this blog, but for a brush-up, you can check out http://www.transrapid.de/en/information/technik_txt.html

    It is definitely a nice tourist ride, and definitely the MOST expensive

    rollercoaster in the world !

    So, let’s just enjoy it (if we dare) as long as it lasts…

  16. zhang

    Don’t tell me that your life with your average UK salary in UK is better than an average wage earner’s life in China, at least I don’t believe it, so as my British colleagues in Zurich.

    Enjoy your rain-soaked and windy democratic life in Britain,:-)

  17. Stephen

    I am reading the report allege the extension of Maglev Shanghai/Hangzhou is built to help the ailing Shanghai airport shuttle into profitable service and an attempt to regain the 10 billions previously invested.

    I think the entire team of the authority should send to school to study basic economic. The basic problem of the existing Maglev, is lack of passenger due to uneasy access and odd operating hours. To resolve the problem is simple, just to limit the parallel transportation and all buses and taxis are allowed as feeder only from Long Yong station. Any direct passage to the PVG will require extra premium. I am sure the revenue of Maglev will surge and the extension may be in dormant.

    Just a wild thinking………..

    Stephen

  18. carsten

    The taxis should be there, if people need to use it and they can afford it.

    It has always been far cheaper to take the subway to Longyang and change to the Mag, but the cheapest is of course the buses (14-16 RMB one-way in nice aircon bus).

    Limiting the taxis and buses is not an option.

    After 17:30 the taxis has a good income from Longyang to PVG because some don’t know that the Mag stops at that time, so they desperately need a taxi !

    Save money can only be done by closing the Mag from now on.

    Running it, or even extending it, is only more waste of public money.

  19. zhang

    carsten, yes, I was replying PC.

    I always got bit annoyed when someone pops up and says something as waste of money or even as far as democracy for MagLev. By all means, it is CHINESE money, why are you so much concerned for it?

    As for the democracy bit, shall we just put up a man or woman as King or Queen something, then let the rich people organize a House of Landloads, to own massive land and properties, and then elect a middle class lawyer from Low House as prime minister to listen to the American and send us Chinese young men to invade Iraq using public money? After all of it, British would feel so much cheerful and celebrate:” Oh Yeah! China finally becomes another democracy like us!”

    Go Republic like French and China!

  20. Stephen

    carsten,

    I concur with your veiw that Maglev should be scrap in light of poor return and usefulness.

    Nevertheless, writing off 10 billions from the book may cause some heavy weight bureaucrat’s head rolling.

    Stephen

  21. carsten

    Stephen, the money IS ALREADY SPENT. It is not a loan.

    And if someone’s head are rolling, then ok, then we will have peace and can continue forward.

    Zhang, why do you look so much of the Britain rules, I’m not british !

    Republic is quite OK with me !

    Only I want to let the PEOPLE decide, and not the top class that’s ruling now.

    We had the same kind of ruling more than a hundred years ago in my country, but the farmers stood up and made the demands for the people to have rights to decide.

    So far it is only the top class that’s allowed to rule in China, to be a “party member”.

    My grilfriend will maybe soon be my wife, and then I have a family in China.

    I know her family very well, and that’s why I concern very much.

    Hope that answers your question of, why I’m worrying of the CHINESE money……

  22. Stephen

    carsten,

    Congratgation with your fore-coming marriage with your long time girl friend and your decision to become a Danish-Chinese.

    Any chance to post your photo in the event of wedding so we can share your exuberance.

    Sincerely Stephen

  23. zhang

    carsten, you got me wrong.

    I am not talking about British, I am talking about prejudice, towards Chinese people and their government.

    It seems to me any rubish country could point the finger to any Chinese, “You are ruled by Communists dictator, your money is wasted by your Party boss, stand up and bring down this evil regime!”. To my ear, it is something like you are telling me, one of a 5 sons from a poor family, “Look, your parents are spending more money on your elder brother, go and beat up your parents to get equal!”

    My mother and my wife are all CCP members and my mother used to serve as dean of a medical school, she worked so hard that she quited the job at her early 50’s due to health problem. You are right that there are corruption, and there are lots of things need to approve in term of running the government more effectively and efficiently, BUT mind you, Chinese people support their government, they have shed their blood and brought down the imperial regime 90 years ago, which still exists in UK and other Kingdom of blah blah in Europe, and built a new Repulic. Because China is a “communist” country, the nation was boycotted by the West for few decades, in 1960’s, my mother had to trade out one of my grandmother’s gold ring for my grandfather’s TB lung disease drug from HongKong(that’s why they got rich). Where were you at that time, carsten? Who led us to survive all of these hardship and even manage to beat up American led United Nation army in Korea? CCP. To CCP, I have my full respect.

    Hope you come earlier with your wife and know the real China and its people.

  24. carsten

    Now this conversation has become something like a runaway train…

    We were beginning with the Maglev extending to Hangzhou !

    Against narrow-mindedness the wise fights in vain, so I quit this debate now.

  25. Stephen

    carsten,

    I hope my greeting did not antagonized you, after all it is only a wishful thinking.

    Stephen

  26. Stephene

    It is announced from China that Maglev extension to Hangzhou shall be built and the work will start by the end of this year.

    Total investment is budget at RMB37Billions where 30 percent will come from private sector. The length of the extension is 175 Km and the speed should reach 450 Km/h. The fare is targeted at RMB120/trip.

    All land reclaim will be responsible by the regional government and the project should finish by 2009.

    Looks like China is having another shinning jewel to her crown.

    Stephen

  27. passing by

    I have visited shanghai in 2004 and experienced the exhilarating ride on the maglev. It was truly wonderful experience. Before arriving at shanghai I was determined to try this famous train. However, once arrived at the airport it took a while to figure out how to get to it. The arrival area was just confusion. Furthermore I was unsure if I should use the maglev because it seemed to stop in the middle of the outer suburbs, far from my intended destination. I tried to find a suitable shuttle bus, but could not seem to match one up. So I decided to go for the maglev and hopefully figure out what to do once I got there (hoping a taxi or some signage would assist me on my arrival at Long Yang). It would be 10 billion times more useful if it went to the city centre. Once of the train at Long Yang station I wondered around, luggage in tow and found something that looked like a subway station entrance, so I went in to investigate. As a foreigner I don’t read Chinese and as such I was dumbfounded as to what to do. I was heading for an academic conference in Pudong and staying at a hotel near the Pearl TV tower. A subway looked like a good idea, but since I had no idea where it went, which direction to take to get to the city centre or how to use it, I gave up and returned to the maglev station area. I had noticed taxis on the othersider of the building so I lugged my luggage trough to the other side and asked a group of drivers. Broken English, a few basic words of mandarin and a print-out of the Chinese page of the hotel website eventually solved the issue and I was on my way to the hotel. What stuck me is how easy that could all have been if there was just a few low cost extras. I.e. multilingual signage! I’m sure that as an international city, Shanghai would have some more English (and other languages) instructions, maps etc at this important point (to transfer to the city’s subway systems). Maybe they don’t need English at other stations, but this one of all, is important. So please spend a few hundred dollars on some signage and increase the chance that travellers will use the maglev. Some other minor problems relate to the movement of luggage (at both ends). Upon my return journey to the airport I had to haul my luggage up stairs and non-functioning escalators to access the maglev station (by this time I had finally figured out the subway system by reading an English tourist map and guessing what station to get of by counting them!) Furthermore extending the line to somewhere useful like the city centre would have been preferable, but given it does join to the city’s subway system, this link in the journey needs to be made accessible to non-chinese reading people if they want to increase the mag lev’s use by travellers. Putting a few multilingual sings and maps in the airport (probably near help counters – if these exist) showing the entire journey to the city centre (other common places) using the maglev would put people’s minds at rest. At the moment, arriving in shanghai and considering the maglev is a risk, because you don’t know what ‘Long Yang’ is or where it is and how to actually complete your journey! I know this sounds like complaining but if you consider the problem form a traveller’s perspective, you want relevant information, it to be clearly presented, it to be where you need it at decision time, in order to make proper decisions. Uncertainty regarding what to do at Long Yang simply scares people away from even getting on the maglev at the airport. It seems that after spending 10billion on this wonderful train that a few ‘minor’ extras at each end of the line, like travelators, lifts, escalators, multi-language signage/ maps (especially in the subway!) etc would increase the patronage of this wonderful service immensely.

    Where is Hangzhou? Does it mean they will extend it through the city centre in order to get to that place? or is it in the other direction? I hope they put a stop in the city centre if it does go that way.

  28. passingby

    I have visited shanghai in 2004 and experienced the exhilarating ride on the maglev. It was truly wonderful experience. Before arriving at shanghai I was determined to try this famous train. However, once arrived at the airport it took a while to figure out how to get to it. The arrival area was just confusion. Furthermore I was unsure if I should use the maglev because it seemed to stop in the middle of the outer suburbs, far from my intended destination. I tried to find a suitable shuttle bus, but could not seem to match one up. So I decided to go for the maglev and hopefully figure out what to do once I got there (hoping a taxi or some signage would assist me on my arrival at Long Yang). It would be 10 billion times more useful if it went to the city centre. Once of the train at Long Yang station I wondered around, luggage in tow and found something that looked like a subway station entrance, so I went in to investigate. As a foreigner I don’t read Chinese and as such I was dumbfounded as to what to do. I was heading for an academic conference in Pudong and staying at a hotel near the Pearl TV tower. A subway looked like a good idea, but since I had no idea where it went, which direction to take to get to the city centre or how to use it, I gave up and returned to the maglev station area. I had noticed taxis on the othersider of the building so I lugged my luggage trough to the other side and asked a group of drivers. Broken English, a few basic words of mandarin and a print-out of the Chinese page of the hotel website eventually solved the issue and I was on my way to the hotel. What stuck me is how easy that could all have been if there was just a few low cost extras. I.e. multilingual signage! I’m sure that as an international city, Shanghai would have some more English (and other languages) instructions, maps etc at this important point (to transfer to the city’s subway systems). Maybe they don’t need English at other stations, but this one of all, is important. So please spend a few hundred dollars on some signage and increase the chance that travellers will use the maglev. Some other minor problems relate to the movement of luggage (at both ends). Upon my return journey to the airport I had to haul my luggage up stairs and non-functioning escalators to access the maglev station (by this time I had finally figured out the subway system by reading an English tourist map and guessing what station to get of by counting them!) Furthermore extending the line to somewhere useful like the city centre would have been preferable, but given it does join to the city’s subway system, this link in the journey needs to be made accessible to non-chinese reading people if they want to increase the mag lev’s use by travellers. Putting a few multilingual sings and maps in the airport (probably near help counters – if these exist) showing the entire journey to the city centre (other common places) using the maglev would put people’s minds at rest. At the moment, arriving in shanghai and considering the maglev is a risk, because you don’t know what ‘Long Yang’ is or where it is and how to actually complete your journey! I know this sounds like complaining but if you consider the problem form a traveller’s perspective, you want relevant information, it to be clearly presented, it to be where you need it at decision time, in order to make proper decisions. Uncertainty regarding what to do at Long Yang simply scares people away from even getting on the maglev at the airport. It seems that after spending 10billion on this wonderful train that a few ‘minor’ extras at each end of the line, like travelators, lifts, escalators, multi-language signage/ maps (especially in the subway!) etc would increase the patronage of this wonderful service immensely.

    Where is Hangzhou? Does it mean they will extend it through the city centre in order to get to that place? or is it in the other direction? I hope they put a stop in the city centre if it does go that way.

  29. carsten

    Stephen, you provided the above information – did the source say if they will let it go through Central Shanghai ?

    People’s Square will be a perfect place to stop ! (many metro lines and hotels around)

    passingby, I think the signs are useful, when were you here in 2004, beginning or end of ?

    Jianshuo, can you pass all these requests to the Maglev authorities ?

    I think they will be gratefull !

    (Of course I’m not a chinese official, so maybe they will not be grateful:-)

  30. Anthony

    I really hope to vist this city one day to ride the maglev and check out the futrue city of Shanghai!! Is there hotels near long yang station? (walking distance). Once i get a hotel i am str8. Is it ok if i travel alone to this city?

    I am American guy age 22 and i will have a cam. For train and city=) How is the night life in this city? Good thing united and china air fly from chicago o’hare direct to Shanghai. Sanfrancisco is another city that they fly direct.

    I was wondering could i record out the front of the maglev where the conducter is? I will be sure to get alot of shots of this train!

  31. Stephen

    carsten,

    The source only reveal the Maglev will pass thru Expo 2010 site plus two more possible stations along the route. No report of the Maglev station will be in Shanghai other than Long Yang. Good news is 70% of investment is fund by Beijing.

    Jianshou, when you were in Seattle, did you see the monorail from downtown to the Spaceneedle? It was built in the sixty during the Expo to show the future mode of transportation, now the monorail is only used in the Disneyworld…….. at the future world.

    Stephen

    Stephen

  32. Stephen

    New source reveal the Maglev extension has four stations, Shanghai Station, Expo Station, Hangzhou Station plus one station between Shanghai and Hangzhou.

    Stephen

  33. Kai Wing

    Maglev tickets are 50 RMB single. You get a 20% discount though if you show a valid air ticket. I didn’t realise this under I had got on the train and read the leaflet. That the ticket office lady wouldn’t mention it to me even though I had obviously just got off a plane, I suppose is my first experience of culture shock since arriving.

  34. stetty

    Hi i have been surfing through alot of the sites in and around the Shanghia area. I live in the U.S. and am coming to Shanghai later in the year. I am so excited about getting to ride the mag lev in commercial operation. I know it has been in operation in Germany but Europe is dead. China is setting the pace in a big way.

    The city of Shanghai was courageous going with new technology. The priciple of Magnetic Levation is a new principle harnessed on the earth that needed the heavy duty electronic world to be realized in order for the mag lev principle to be applied.

    The above link is a more feasable conception for longer distances and with this principle and more development we will link the world from South America to South Africa. When does research and development / investment pay for itself? Never in the first ten years anyway.

    The city of Shanghai and all the commerce that grows up around the city now with the mag lev will benefit over time in order of magnitudes. This is just a start. Shanghai is first to step up but others will follow and the cost will come way down as skilled labor and production continue to develope.

    Rummor is that plans are being developed now for over 3000 km in and around the Arab world.

    Just a thought from sunny southern California, U.S.

  35. stetty

    The article on the Magnetrain is a good one and i just wanted to quote it to stir up some intrest in the technology:

    “Neodymuium-Iron-Boron magnets have a lift ratio of 270 to 1 with a one-inch air gap. That means that 740 pounds of such magnets will lift a train car weighting 100 tons, making it perfectly feasible to carry freight cross-country at high speed, on a Magnetrain system.”

    This is exciting!

  36. pierpaolo

    deaqr sir

    I’m searching a map (or a web site map) about the MAGLEV in Shanghai

    could you help me or send me by email it?

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