The amazing Shanghai Maglev Train arrives at Longyang Road station in Pudong. Incredibly, eight minutes later we were 30 km away at Pudong Airport.
This was the first commercial high-speed maglev line in the world. The system and trains were built to the German Transrapid standard. Construction began in March 2001, and service began in January 2004. The project cost $1.33bn
The train does not run on conventional rails but hovers. The synchronous linear motor of the maglev system is used both for propulsion and braking. It works like a rotating electric motor whose stator is cut open and stretched lengthways along the underside of the guideway. Inside the motor windings, alternating current generates a magnetic traveling field which moves the vehicle without contact. The support magnets in the vehicle function as the excitation portion (rotor). The respective magnetic traveling field works in only one direction, so if there were several trains on the same track section, they would travel in the same direction.
The superspeed maglev has no wheels, axles, transmissions, or pantographs. It does not roll, it hovers. The train/ground clearance is constant at 10 mm. The train uses less power to hover than for its air conditioning equipment.
The line runs to Pudong International Airport. The journey takes 7 minutes and 20 seconds to complete the distance of 30 km. The trains reach 350 km/h (220 mph) in 2 minutes, with the maximum normal operation speed of 431 km/h (268 mph) reached very soon after.
Believe me, it’s quite a thrill to be going at 268 mph!