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Shanghai maglev line 'not off the rails'
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The much-troubled extension project for the Shanghai maglev railway seems to be back on track.

"The project is under examination at the municipal government," Xia Guozhong, the news officer with Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co. Ltd, told China Daily yesterday.

His confirmation came following the announcement of the Thyssen Krupp group that the German and Chinese sides in the project have both agreed on building the extension line.

Thyssen Krupp CEO Ing Ekkehard D. Schulz announced the agreement at the opening of the Thyssen Krupp technology fair week last week.

"We hope to extend the line first to the Hongqiao airport, 34 kilometers away," Schulz told the media.

"The project is waiting for the final decision from the Chinese government."

A positive outcome for this project will help promote the development of maglev technology in China, Schulz said.

Earlier this year, a spokesman with the Minhang District of Shanghai told the media that the plan to extend the maglev line from Shanghai to Hangzhou was "temporarily suspended" because residents along the railway line were worried that magnetic fields may harm their health.

Some members with the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress also expressed doubts over the high cost in the building of the maglev extension. It may also affect the national plan for a high-speed railway network, according to earlier reports in May.

"The municipality never said that the project was cancelled," said an unidentified source with the Thyssen Krupp Shanghai.

"The municipal spokesperson said that they were 'investigating' it. We don't have any other information besides that.

"Both sides wish to carry out this project, but we don't have any substantial information from the authorities as yet."

Shanghai built the world's first commercial maglev route from the Longyang Road metro station to the Pudong Airport earlier this decade. The project launched on December 31, 2003, and so far has transported more than 12 million passengers to and from the city, according to Thyssen Krupp.

Another maglev project for commercial use is on track in Germany at present. Funding was given the green light in September, and construction is expected to begin next year, according to

(China Daily October 9, 2007)

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