The other day I got to do something cool, I took a trip on the Shanghai Maglev train. Inside the slim, white futuristic looking carriages are ocean blue seats and plenty of space. The train is clean inside and out, spotless and it departed and arrived on time. These features I stated because back in Australia you don’t get these.
Near the roof at the front and back of each carriage is the time and a speed reading. The speed reading exists because this train goes fast! Fastest in the world and you know this when you see 431 KM/h on the display. The ride is smooth and when it takes a big sweeping bend its surreal.
The train uses German made magnetic levitation to smoothly and quietly fly along the tracks. What surprised me most was it opened January 1 2004 and we haven’t progressed since than. The worlds fastest train set the record over 10 years ago!
The trip took 7 minutes 20 seconds from the Pudong international airport to Longyang road. Without knowing a great deal about the geography a train that goes that fast is always going to be handy and a time saver.
Reading up on the Maglev train you can see why its a rare breed and not used elsewhere. It cost $1.3 Billion US to build back in 2001. It seems each year losses keep being made. Perhaps poor planning played a part? Maybe it needed to be a real solid location connection (airport to CBD or city to city) for the train to be a popular method of travel.
Thinking back to Australia this train would be ideal to go from the Airport to CDB and vice versa. Would it happen? Not a chance. The 15m high track and cost would be enough to have the public crying. Would it be effective and make Melbourne better? Absolutely! It must be great to live in a country where the “leaders” actually progress the country and get stuff done.