China builds Maglev from Shanghai to Hangzhou

By Maverick Chen
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, March 15, 2010
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China's first Maglev line opened in 2004 and runs from Pudong International Airport to Shanghai city center.

The new Maglev project is the only one in the ministry's long term plan but the country is pressing ahead with other high-speed rail construction projects.

By the end of 2009 China had 6,552 kilometers of high speed track and 773 high-speed trains – the largest network in the world, said vice railway minister Wang Zhiguo. By 2012, the country's total railway mileage will have reached 110,000 kilometers, including 13,000 kilometers of high-speed track.

Wang said high speed rail's short journey times gave it a competitive advantage over airlines and other alternative transportation services. He predicted shortened journey times would boost passenger numbers.

The high price of high-speed rail tickets has become a contentious issue in recent months. The ministry's chief economist Yu Bangli said operational costs, affordability, and the price of competing means of transport were factors in determining the price of tickets. He also said that conventional trains had historically undercharged for tickets.

During Spring Festival in mid-February, train malfunctions on the Wuhan-Guangzhou and Zhengzhou-Xi'an high-speed lines caused massive delays. The ministry said electronic onboard monitors need further debugging; adding that dust from chemical plants had been a factor in causing the malfunction.

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