The country's first maglev railway line is being built in Shanghai while sparing the public from an advertising blitz and the loud noise usually associated with such construction projects.
The line will make transportation easier for people and advance the economic development in Shanghai, China's largest commercial centre.
Near a subway station in an industrial area of the city, a giant building with a steel dome stands out.
It is the start of a concrete elevated railroad that will extend 30 kilometres to the international airport in the Pudong New Area.
Xia Guozhong, an official with the Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co Ltd, said construction of the railroad, which began in March, went along well. The railroad infrastructure, railway station, repair centre and transformer substations have been completed.
More than 500 guideway girders - one-fifth of the total number required - weighing an average 175 tons with a length of 24 metres have been produced so far at the Shanghai-based guideway girders manufacturing base.
More than 5,400 tons of other equipment have been imported from several Germany-based companies.
Xia said the technology involved in the project has not been used before and unexpected problems could spring up, slowing the pace.
The project's success or failure will affect many economic and technological circles in China and Germany, he said.
The two parties have agreed to concentrate on work rather than words during the construction phase, which will be finished in 2003, he said.
When completed, it will take only 8 minutes for passengers on the maglev line trains to travel 30 kilometres between Pudong International Airport and the city centre, he said.
The highest speed will top 430 kilometres an hour.
The guideway girders base, which stretches 1,700 metres along the railway construction area, has set up an advanced production line consisting of a 40,000-square-metre placement workshop, a 100,000-square-metre material ground and a 26,000-square-metre constant temperature workshop.
As a sign of the co-operation between China and Germany, the project is using a series of state-of-the-art technological developments and engineering designs, said Yan Keming, deputy general-director of the guideway girders manufacture base.
(China Daily February 22, 2002)