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Shanghai Maglev May Go to Hangzhou (Mar 9, 2004)

The Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Company is studying the possibility of building a maglev line between Shanghai and Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, a company spokesperson said on Monday.

"At the request of both governments of Shanghai and Zhejiang Province, we have been doing the survey for a maglev line between the two cities," Xia Guozhong, a company spokesperson, told Shanghai Daily yesterday. "But the survey hasn't been completed and the project is still waiting for central government approval."

However, Xia refuted the report carried yesterday by a Hangzhou-based newspaper.

The Urban Express reported that the company had completed an interim proposal and if adopted, it would only take 27 minutes to travel between the two cities, citing an unnamed source with the provincial government's planning commission.

According to the proposal, the Shanghai-Hangzhou maglev line would be completed by 2008 and a one-way ticket would cost 130-150 yuan - about four times more expensive than a first-class railway trip, the newspaper said.

Additionally, the paper said, the new line would be linked to one of the two terminals of Shanghai's current maglev line - either Longyang Metro Station or the Pudong International Airport.

If it connects to the airport, the new maglev line would head south and reach Hangzhou via Nanqiao, Fengjing, Jiaxing and Haining.

But if it connects to the metro station, the line would head west and have several stations including the future World Expo site, Shanghai South Railway Station, Songjiang District, Jiaxing and finally Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang.

The newspaper reported that more studies would be conducted on the metro station route since it is believed more passengers would use it.

The present Shanghai Maglev line was put into commercial operation in January and takes only eight minutes to reach the airport from the Longyang Metro Station with a peak speed of 430 kilometers per hour.

However, more than 80 percent of the passengers are taking the train for sightseeing purposes.

Critics have said the route doesn't link the airport with downtown and the trains don't have enough room for luggage.

Hangzhou is one of the most popular tourist spots in China.

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