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Maglev Due to Reopen on October 1

Despite equipment problems that popped up earlier this summer, the city's maglev train -- the world's first commercial magnetic levitation line -- will restart operations on October 1, operators announced Sunday.

"Beginning in October, three maglev trains will simultaneously carry out business operations for sightseeing purposes on major holidays and weekends," said Chen Yifan of Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co.

The firm still hasn't decided how many trips will run every day, however.

The 30-kilometer maglev-line, which cost 10 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) to build employing German technology, links the Longyang Metro Station and Pudong International Airport.

Tickets for a sightseeing round trip on the maglev were a hot commodity when they were on sale between January 1st and the middle of March despite prices starting at 150 yuan (US$18) per ticket.

However, operations were suspended because of the outbreak SARS and late equipment problems with the stator windings -- a type of cable loop that transfers electricity to power the trains.

He said the German partners have promised to compensate for the stator windings free of charge.

According to the Oriental Morning Post, replacing the windings could cost up to 35 million euros (US$39.4 million.)

It only takes a maglev train eight minutes to reach the airport from the station with its peak speed of 430 kilometers per hour, compared to the 30 to 40 minutes a taxi needs to take to cover the same distance.

(eastday.com August 18, 2003)

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