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Report on the maglev train to Shanghai Pudong airport

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I posted this earlier in the Asia section but thought I'd cross post here as well:

I had the opportunity to try out the maglev this trip and thought I'd post some pictures and give a report. They started operating the train on a daily basis this year and lowered the ticket prices. We weren't able to use it on arrival as the hours of operation are limited (something like 8:00am-5:00pm) but took it on the way back to airport. The maglev operates between Shanghai Pudong airport and Longyang station with a train departing every 15-20 minutes for the 8 minute long, 20km or so ride. First of all if you're wondering where the heck Longyang station is, it's still in Pudong, along metro line 2, about 5 stops from Liujazui station (near the Grand Hyatt) and 7 stops from People's Square station in Puxi. The maglev would be so much more useful if it terminated somewhere closer to Puxi. As it stands it's more of a novelty than a convenient way to get to/from the airport IMHO.

The regular one way fare for standard class is 50 yuan. With a same day air ticket, the price is reduced to 40 yuan. When I bought my maglev ticket, they never even glanced at my air ticket, so flashing an air ticket for any day will probably get you the discounted fare. There's also a VIP class which is about 2x the standard class fare. I didn't take a look in the VIP cars but imagine it's probably 2/2 seating vs. 3/3, perhaps with more attendants. There are speed indicators in every car and much of the time is spent accelerating and decelerating to the top speed of 432km/hr. There were more passengers on board than I expected. I'd say it was about 2/3 full.

On arrival at the Pudong airport station, you walk across a long covered corridor (it probably wasn't that long, but being 100 degrees and unairconditioned, it felt really, really long) to the airport terminal. An elevator takes you one level up to departures or down to arrivals. As far as getting to/from Longyang station, you can take the metro (if you have very little luggage) or a taxi. On board the maglev there's plenty of room for your luggage either overhead or in a larger storage space as you board the car although it's not really something I recommend doing with a lot of luggage. They also xrayed luggage but didn't xray any personal belongings like purses, briefcases, shopping bags, etc. As a means of airport transportation, the entire process is more complicated and cumbersome than just taking a cab, but everyone seemed to have this level of giddy excitement just to be on board with lots of picture snapping.

Maglev photos:

http://www.ofoto.com/I.jsp?c=jy877nh.324zzx49&x=0&y=aie21j

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