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Maglev planned between Shanghai, Hangzhou
Updated: 2004-03-09 16:14

Shanghai is considering German cooperation in construction of a magnetic-levitation train line that would connect the commercial metropolis with the eastern city of Hangzhou, officials and reports said Tuesday.

A maglev train line between Shanghai and Hangzhou is planned. [newsphoto]

``The governments of the two sides are discussing such a project,'' said Li Rong, a Shanghai government spokeswoman. She said the proposed project is waiting for approval from the leadership in Beijing.

``Shanghai can't start such a big construction project without central government orders,'' she said.

Staff at Shanghai's Maglev Transportation Co. said they were only at the early stages of doing feasibility research on extending Shanghai's high-speed train line to Hangzhou, 200 kilometers (125 miles) to the southwest in Zhejiang province.

German reports said that Transrapid, a German consortium including engineering giants Siemens and ThyssenKrupp, was about to wrap up a deal to build the line.

Maglev Transportation Co. operates a high-speed, 30 kilometer (19 mile) magnetic rail link between Shanghai's Pudong International Airport and the city's financial district. The US$1 billion railway began carrying passengers earlier this year at a maximum speed of 430 kilometers (270 miles) per hour.

German, French and Japanese companies have been competing fiercely for involvement in another high-speed rail line between Shanghai and Beijing.

Chinese officials say they have not settled on what sort of technology to use for the new rail link, but that they plan to open the project to international bidding once a decision is reached.

A report on China News Net, a Web site operated by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, or Cabinet, said officials in Zhejiang planned to present their proposal for the maglev line to Beijing for approval by the end of this year. Construction would begin in 2005 if approved.

The new line would shorten travel time between the two cities to about a half-hour from the current two hours, said the report, citing an interim feasibility study.

It said the line would begin operation in 2008, with tickets costing 130 yuan to 150 yuan (US$16-18).

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