The Shanghai skyline looks set to get a new addition as the city makes plans to build new air train tracks to ease growing traffic congestion.
The cutting-edge technology of air trains, first introduced in Europe, comprises high-rise tracks and "hanging trains" which feature all-electric motorized suspended trains which will zigzag among Shanghai's skyscrapers.
Over 20 Chinese cities are considering plans to introduce air trains. [english.sina.com]
According to a report Sunday in Shanghai's newspaper Wen Hui Bao, the new system is quieter and more eco-friendly than existing system, reaching only 65 in 6.5 meters and emitting no sulphur dioxide.
According to a project manager at Air Train International Shanghai Co. Ltd, who commented at the China (Shanghai) International Technology Fair held on May 8, the trains are similar to suspended cable cars which run beneath the tracks. "The passengers on the train will feel like they are flying and during their trip they will get panoramic views of the landscape."
The manager also revealed that about 90 percent of the air train technology or H-Bahn project, a suspended driverless passenger monorail system first developed in Germany, has been adapted to China's existing technology.
Construction costs for the air train, consisting of four carriages with a 500-passenger capacity, are likely between 120 million (US$ 19.5 million) to 150 million yuan per kilometer, equivalent to one-fifth of the total expenditure on the subway system.
Travelling at speeds of 25- 50 kilometers per hour, the air train is expected to carry some 12,000 passengers per hour.
More than 20 cities are now considering the feasibility of the air train system. Wenzhou is the first city to draw up a concrete route for its system, which will run from its West Passenger Station via the downtown area to the East Passenger Station. Shanghai is undertaking studies of the project in four of its districts, two of which are currently designing route maps for the suspended track.
Some have cited security concerns over the proposed system, with H-Bahn Group, the parent company of Air Train International Shanghai Co. Ltd, commenting that safety concerns from the public will be the biggest obstacle to the implementation of the projects.
Experts, however, have pointed to the fact that suspended transport systems have been used in Germany for more than 100 years and that the country’s new system, H-Bahn, has operated accident-free at the Dortmund university campus and Düsseldorf International Airport since 1984.