SHANGHAI: Under this city's plan to extend metro line 2 to link its two
airports with downtown, parts of the line will overlap with the suspended maglev
Work on the metro line is to be completed before 2010, when Shanghai will
host the World Expo, a local paper reported recently.
The extension represents a major reversal from a previous plan, under which
the maglev train between Longyang Road and Pudong International Airport was to
be extended westward to connect Hongqiao Airport, which handles most of the
city's domestic air traffic, before the expo.
The high-speed rail services were intended to facilitate domestic and
international flight transfers for visitors to the expo.
However, that project was suspended because of cost concerns and noise and
pollution worries among local residents.
The existing maglev line, which began operating on December 31, 2002, cost 10
billion yuan ($1.32 billion). It has since wracked up losses of 1 billion yuan
because of its high fares and the comparatively inconvenient locations of its
stations. A one-way trip downtown costs 50 yuan on the maglev train. By
contrast, airport shuttle buses cost about 20 yuan.
The estimated cost of expanding the maglev line was 6 billion yuan.
The project was initially approved, but was then suspended in May when
residents near the planned route protested against possible noise and pollution.
Still, Xia Guozhong, an official with Shanghai Maglev Transportation
Development Co Ltd, denied that the plan to extend the metro line meant the
official cancellation of the extension of the maglev line.
He said that the two train lines are totally different even though they
travel similar routes.
"The maglev train is much faster," he said. "We have never said the extension
He refused to comment on whether the extension of the metro line would reduce
Jemimah Steinfeld, who has been living in Shanghai for nearly a year, said
she takes a taxi and then the maglev when she goes to the airport.
"I not only find the maglev fast and efficient, but also fun," she said.
"I would consider taking the metro if it linked the airport to downtown, but
it would depend how on long it takes."
The current trip on line 2, from Songhong Road near Hongqiao Airport to
Longyang Road, takes about 40 minutes.
Traveling from Longyang Road to Pudong International Airport takes about
eight minutes on the maglev.
Work on the extension of the metro line to Hongqiao Airport is underway.
(China Daily 07/24/2007 page3)