Ticket to Ride World's Fastest Bullet Train
CREDIT: Shanghai Maglev Bullet Train
Travelers to Shanghai can now ride China's newly inaugurated Maglev bullet train from Shanghai airport in Pudong to downtown for US$15 in a VIP seat, or half that for a regular seat. The world’s fastest bullet train in operation can cover 126 miles in 45 minutes and tops out at 262 miles per hour.
A ride aboard the Maglev will feel more like flying than riding the rails. The train is the first to use magnetic levitation technology, eliminating both wheels and engine. Powerful magnet s lift the train 10 millimeters above the track. The record-breaking speeds over other bullet trains such as Japan Railways' Shinkansen, which uses conventional tracks, are primarily due to the reduction in friction.
Railway officials recently announced they were working on technology to boost speeds to over 312 mph, an increase of 20 percent.
China aims to build around 10,000 miles of high speed rail by 2012 at a cost of $120 billion, including a 824-mile section linking capital city Beijing with Shanghai. At current speeds, the one-way trip would take five hours, half the time on conventional rail.
If Shanghai isn't on your itinerary, Maglev technology is also under consideration in the U.S. A $1 billion pilot project has been narrowed to two finalists: a 47-mile Pittsburgh system and a 40-mile track between Baltimore and Washington, DC. On the west coast, Maglev-proponents are lobbying Congress to fund a 92-mile circuit between three Southern California airports to ease congested freeway traffic in the region. Similar plans are under development in Honolulu, San Diego, Las Vegas and Atlanta.
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