Maglev…is suspended

January 21st, 2011

The project to link Shanghai to Hangzhou by a Magnetic Levitation train doesn’t look like it will be off the ground soon.

Despite getting the green light from the State Council more than 5 years ago, the project now seems shelved. There are some good reasons for that. First, the cost of the line (more than USD 5 billion) makes it hardly a good value proposition. In fact, even the line linking the Shanghai airport to the city will probably never bring a return on investment. Second, the proposed line faces stif  competition from the high-speed train linking Shanghai to Hangzhou. Among other, the gain in time between the two modes of transport would of less than 10 minutes. Finally, one has to remember that the initial Shanghai line was a pet project of Zhu Rongji’s administration intended, among others, to show the technological advancement of China (with Siemens technology).

Now that this hardly needs further proof, transport planners can get down to sustainable business while residents along the planned line see the spectre of relocation vanishing.

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