Transrapid Maglev Shanghai

The construction of the line began in March, 2001, and public service commenced already on January 1, 2004.

The maglev trains, Transrapid 08 type, were manufactured in Germany, while the guideway was fabricated in Shanghai (based on German/Chinese technology). 
The line is operated by the SMTD Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co., Ltd. 

The Shanghai Transrapid service interconnects the existing Long Yang Road subway station with the new Pudong International Airport. As far as the Chinese are concerned, this project is not only regarded from a strictly local point of view, it is also seen as an important demonstration project for new 21st century transportation technologies. 

It has a dual-track guideway measuring 30 km, with currently two stations, at Long Yang Road and Pudong International Airport, plus two substations and one operations control center. 

Three Transrapid trains comprising at five sections run at speeds of up to 430 km/h. The time taken from one end of the route to the other is less than 8 minutes.



The Shanghai Maglev Project is owned, operated, and maintained by the Chinese company formed to realize the project, SMTDC. The maglev route is currently operating at 15-minute intervals, 15 hours/day, 7 days/week with maintenance/repairs scheduled during the night hours. Two 5-section vehicles are in operation to handle the 108 trips/day, with a third vehicle as reserve. 

The maglev trains usually reach 350 km/h (220 mph) in 2 minutes, with a maximum speed in normal operation of 431 km/h (268 mph). During a test run on 12 November 2003, a maglev train achieved a top speed of 501km/h. 

The train runs from Longyang Road station on the Shanghai subway line 2 to Pudong International Airport, and the total track length is about 30 kilometres, with an additional, separate track leading to a maintenance facility. The train takes 7 minutes and 20 seconds to complete the journey, and its top operational speed is 431 kilometers per hour. 

Guideway Construction 
In the city of Kassel, the 18 vehicle sections were built for Shanghai as well as around 124,000 of the stator packages that were secured to the guideway. Inside the stator packages are the discs for which EBG Gesellschaft für Elektromagnetische Werkstoffe mbH, Bochum (another ThyssenKrupp Group company), was supplying the electric sheet. ThyssenKrupp Transrapid was supplying the motor windings to be inserted in the stator packages (including the installation equipment) as well as eight guideway switches. 

Most of the engineering work for these components was sourced from ThyssenKrupp Transrapid. The flexible steel girders for the switches were manufactured and fitted out by Krupp Stahlbau Hannover. The manufacture of the switch control units and the motor windings were outsourced. 

All the subsystems were assembled and installed in Shanghai by personnel of the Chinese customer working under the guidance of the Transrapid systems consortium. In a sharp contrast, the guideway (comprising girders, substructures and foundations)were fully in the hands of the Chinese, with the German guidewayconsortium providing some consultancy support.


Maglev Vehicle Data 

The Trains in Shanghai are of the Transrapid SMT type which is based on the German TR 08.

  • Number of vehicles/trains: 3
  • Sections: 6 each train
  • Length: 153.6 m
  • Width: 3.7 m
  • Height: 4.2 m
  • Maximum operating speed: 505 km/h

Total Passenger capacity: 574

  • End section (ES) 1st class: 56
  • Middle section (MS) 2nd class: 110
  • End section (ES) 2nd class:  78


The Shanghai Transrapid project took 10 billion yuan (1.2 billion US dollars) and only 2.5 years to complete the 30.5 km (19 miles) track. 
As of 2007, the one way ticket price is 50 China Yuan Renminbi (RMB) and 40 RMB  for airline passengers with proof of an airline ticket purchase. A one-way VIP ticket costs 100 RMB (US $12.66). A round-trip ticket costs 80 RMB (US$10.13).


Operating statistics

  • Operating times: 7:00 to 21:00
  • Highest Speed: 431 km/h (Normal Times) or 300 km/h (Extend Times)
  • Run time: 7 mins and 20 sec. at day time and rush hours, while 8 mins and 10 sec. in extend times
  • Day time scedule is 8:30-17:00, Extended Time is 7:00 to 8:30 and 17:00-21:00
  • Interval: 15 mins.

The high-speed train takes about 2 minutes and 15 seconds to reach 300 km/h and about 4 minutes to reach its peak speed, 431 km/h. The ride of the train is generally considered comfortable. 

The first time the Maglev's hours of operation were extended was in the year 2005. Originally the train ran from 8:30-15:30, but very few passengers took the maglev because it was considered expensive and because a high number of flights from the Pudong airport leave and arrive early in the morning or late at night. So the hours were extended 7:00-21:00, with the extended hours being run at a lower top speed. This brought the Maglev's total ridership numbers up. Also, some price drops and discounts were introduced on one-way and return tickets. 

As of October 2007 the hours will be extended again to coincide with the operating hours of the Metro Line 2, 6:45-21:30. 
The reason for the new hours is quite the same as in 2005, but in a different context: the Maglev company is still receiving complaints that the hours of operation don't extend early or late enough, but now too many people are wanting to take the Maglev early in the morning. Official numbers not being available, some anecdotal evidence says that the morning trains are 60-70% full each time they run, significantly higher than two years ago. 

According to SMTDC and public information (2007), currently 19% of the total staff are involved in administration, operation, and support services and 81% in maintenance and related activities. SMTDC provides all administration and operations personnel directly and subcontracts the system maintenance and support personnel (train and station attendants, ticketing, cleaning, security, etc.) to external companies. With the extremely low wage levels in China, Chinese companies typically employ far more personnel than comparable operations in western countries. Even with substantially more personnel than a comparable US maglev project would employ, the total personnel costs only account for about 1/3 of the overall operating budget.

Ridership statistics 

As of October 2007, the daily passenger numbers on the Maglev exceed 20,000, with 80 percent of them using the high-speed train to get to and from the Pudong International Airport.



There is local criticism that the project was showy and wasteful, delivering no practical benefit to residents. 
Maglev ridership has been below expectations, due to limited operating hours, the short line, the high price of the tickets and the inconvenient location of the Longyang Road Terminal.



Various extension plans have been proposed. In January 2006, the Shanghai Urban Planning Administrative Bureau proposed an extension to Hongqiao Airport via Shanghai South Railway Station and the Expo 2010 site, with a continuation towards Hangzhou. If built, the line would allow transferring between the airports, which are located 55 km apart, in about 15 minutes. The plan for the extension to Hangzhou was approved by the central government in February 2006, with construction set to start by the end of 2006 for completion by 2010. 

On May 26th, 2007, the planning of the extension to Hangzhou and the Hongqiao airport once again came to a sudden halt. As semi-official reasons for the halt "concerns of residents along the planned track about radiation" were mentioned. 

Chinese insiders talk about an ongoing, currently escalating conflict between the rail lobby in the Beijing Ministry for Transport (which strongly favours "established" conventional rail) and proponents of maglev in the Shanghai Area. The rivalry between Beijing and Shanghai is generally discribed as a deeply rooted power conflict. 

The future of the project remains to be unclear.



On August 11, 2006, a Maglev train compartment caught fire at 2:40 p.m. after leaving Pudong International Airport to Longyang Road Station. There were no injuries or fatalities aboard. Investigation reports into the cause of the fire seem to indicate that electrical problems occurred.


External links SMT - Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co., Ltd.


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