Sunday, 20 May 2012

Shanghai to London- Part 1

Shanghai Local Transport-
The 'Transrapid' at Longyang Road, shanghai

Inside the Maglev train cruising at at 430kph
Arrival in Shanghai was by air from London Heathrow- an overnight flight with China Eastern Airlines (who seem to be the cheapest direct operator on this route by far). No sooner had I arrived at Pudong International Airport and it was time to experience the fastest land vehicle of the trip- infact, the fastest land vehicle available to the public anywhere in the world- the Shanghai Maglev. The system which opened in 2004 transports passengers from Shanghai Pudong airport at speeds of up to 431kph (268mph) towards the centre of Shanghai. I say 'towards' the centre as the 7-8 minute journey actually deposits passengers at Longyang Road metro station- it is a further 20 minutes into the city by conventional subway train! Never the less, the ride is impressive- the point where trains cross half way into the journey being particularly exhilarating.  

A train on an elevated section of the circular Line 4
A train pulls into Lianhua Road on Line 1. Is it just me or
is that  livery strangely familiar to anyone who has ever
caught a German train??
Shanghai is host to a modern and efficient metro system, and also one of the newest in the world. Launched in 2005 and expanded ever since the Shanghai Metro currently consists of 11 lines which cover most of the city areas and include a circular line which connects to many of the point to point routes. Tickets are very cheap by western standards, a typical journey costing just 2yuan (around 20pence). Single ride tickets are issued on plastic chipped cards which are retained by the turnstiles upon completion of each journey to be re-used from ticket machines. A 'transit card' (similar to the London's 'Oyster' scheme) is also available.

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