It may have been an unglamorous 15 hours from JFK to Shanghai in coach, but once on the ground, my transportation prospects improved significantly: I floated into the city levitating on a magnetic field at 160 mph.
The train that connects Shanghai's Pudong International airport with the outskirts of its regular metro line was the first high-speed Maglev train to operate commercially in 2004. Not many have followed since, and that's a shame, because the ride is smooth, fast and nearly silent (although I may actually prefer the fighter-jet hum of a nice Japanese shinkansen).
What's also a shame is that the ride only lasts eight minutes, and only skips 10 stations on the Metro's #2 line before plopping you at Longyang Rd. station--still on the eastern fringe of the city. From there you must hop the traditional underground Metro and its humdrum, ancient wheel-and-track drivetrain for access to central Shanghai. Boo. But the speed! Eight minutes to cover 16 miles is not bad at all. The train can top out at 268 mph on the ride, but mine only made it to 160 mph.
The smooth ride certainly aides in the jet decompression process--a process I'm now finalizing at the time of writing with a few beers and some dumplings before hitting the World Expo tomorrow. Until then!
By the way, you may have noticed some gnarliness on the nosecone in the top photo. All I have to say is I'd hate to be the bird/squirrel/whatever that met its fate being introduced to a Maglev train's face at 160 mph:
So John not to good at the mathematics then "Covering 16 miles in 8 minutes, topping out at 160 mph" now my basic education tells me that 160mph divided by 16 miles means 10 minutes,unless of course the maglev alters time ?
Please allow me to retract my previous comment I did say my basic education lol
The average speed would have been 120mph...
take in account the time to accelerate and decelerate
That thing is fun!
415 kph going around a corner whilst whizzing past suburban gardens is really quite an experience!
Just for the record though, wouldn't you be re-compressing not decompressing after taking a flight?
Whoever heard of a maglev that alters time?
I'm assuming this is a blog post and not an actual article. I learned more about the maglev train from reading the Wiki article.
You didn't happen to mention the cost of the ride, 40-50 yuan, expensive by local standards. A bus ride from the airport costs 15 yuan and a bus ride in the city proper costs 2.
True to the Wiki article's report, the train was practically empty. While ridership may be up thanks to the Shanghai World Expo, I don't think they will ever recapture the 10 billion yuan (USD $1.3B) cost to build it.
To their credit, Wiki reports that 10 billion yuan got the train built in two years. That's considerably faster and cheaper than the Eastern span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, still under construction after 6 years (plus 15 years of planning), and a whopping 6.2 billion dollars, 5 1/2 billion more than the original construction estimate. China has built scores, if not hundreds, of bridges in the same time span, including the component parts for the Bay Bridge, and a maglev train, to boot!
If you're arriving in Shanghai, ride the maglev train if you can, if only for the experience. You get a full-color commemerative boarding pass, a nice collector's item. I rode the train, not for the sake of transportation, but out of interest. After all, after a $1,500 airplane trip, what's another $7? There is no shortage of seedy taxi drivers jockeying for your fare at the destination station, but bone up on your Mandarin or Shanghainese, because more likely than not, they don't speak English! While English is spreading, people by and large don't speak English, so don't expect to turn to the guy next to you on the street for directions or translation.
I'd say, however, your best bet is to take a taxi from the airport, the price will probably be about the same, and the driver will take you right to the front door of your hotel.
What? Only 160 m.p.h? I guess I was lucky when I rode the train back in 2005. I saw some Danish engineers walk aboard the train I took from the airport to the end of the line. They apparently were doing some kind of a test and took the train to 420 k.p.h. (about 261 m.p.h.) before it reached its' destination. I remember thinking, "Hey! I'm traveling faster than Michael Schumacher!"
Only certain times of the day does the Maglev go above 160mph. I think it is for noise abatement. Both times I have been on it the train traveled at 240mph. Just been lucky. I think that is where the 10 minute ride comes from.
I rode the Maglev in October and the posted speed reached 431 km/h which is 268 mph. It never seemed like we were really going that fast until we passed a train going the other direction. Wow!
@judgedead - unfortunately it seems your basic education has failed you this time. 160mph divided by 16 miles is not ten minutes, but one tenth of an hour, or six minutes. adding a bit of extra time for acceleration and deceleration, you are left with an approximately eight minute long ride.
sorry, i just saw your second comment now.