Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Maglev, been there, done that. It is fast as advertised.

On our way out of Shanghai, my oldest son, Erik, 10, really wanted to ride the Maglev. His class had covered the technology and science of Maglev. It was a reasonable request, and our tour guide was very clever in working it into our short stay.

I also remember Al's video travel snip of his visit with Maglev. I think that played as a segment to the PCTV show, The Art of News. Now, I've got a similar documentary.

Maglev runs between the new airport and the new part of the city. It only has two stations. And, like Pittsburgh's concept, one terminates at the airport. The new international airport is out of the city a bit. In a van, it took us about an hour or perhaps 75 minutes to go from the airport into the center, older city after our inbound flight.

The new part of the city is 15 years old, or less. Boombing development. And, that part of the city is closer to the new airport.

The ride is fast. The cars are smooth. The turn banks and it is fun to watch a bus on the divided highway below get passed as if they are standing still. The stations are modern. And best of all, the speed in Kpm is on a mini-scoreboard within each of the Maglev's cars. I think the top speed was 480 kpm on our trip.

Our morning had us load up the van at the hotel. The van then drove us 20 minutes to the Maglev station. We left our suitcases on the van and went up and took a ride, buying tickets, catching the next train, arriving at the airport.

The kicker was as soon as we arrived at the airport, walked to the terminal, we were able to meet our van and pick up the suitcases. We walked out of the terminal and our van arrived, like magic without a wait.

All in all, the Maglev, despite its speed, didn't really save any time over the van on the highway.

When we got to the airport, I was kicking myself thinking how we should have taken our bags with us onboard the Maglev. I thought we'd have to wait 30-40 minutes for the bags to arrive. But that was not the case at all. It felt weird to have the van, in essence, tie the Maglev in terms of door-to-door service.

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