Will there be a Maglev train from Shanghai to Hangzhou?

Yesterday I had a meeting in Hangzhou and during the ride there I noticed that for a stretch of at least 40 kilometers construction workers were building something that looks like a train track. It certainly was not a road, it looked too narrow for that and it would have been strange to build an elevated road next to the expressway. It also did not look like a regular train track, because these are normally not constructed far above the ground in China (there is no need for that). What it looked like is the construction of the Maglev train from Shanghai to Hangzhou.

However, this project is supposed to be suspended according to a Caijing article from March this year. I could not find any information on the Internet that this suspension had been overruled, but it seems that the construction has started. Can anybody shed a light on this?

What’s actually even more interesting, is the way they build this line: in Europe they would probably work on a stretch of a few kilometers at a time, here it seems they work on the whole length of the line at the same time. Everywhere they are building pillars: at some places construction is a bit further than at others, but along the whole stretch workers are busy with the construction. They must use thousands of people to do this, quite a feat to plan and implement such a project if you think about it. It also explains why China can build its infrastructure so quickly, they just build the whole thing at once instead of in many stages.

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  1. There are links on the Wikipedia page that indicate that the project has gotten green lights by the government.


  2. Which ones? The only ones I see are from 2008, before the project got suspended in 2009.

  3. Actually, I think I read that 90% of the 13.000 km highspeed rail network that's being constructed in China right now will be built above ground on buttresses (see here my blog post on the Beijing – Shijiazhuang line under construction:

    I know construction already started on the highspeed rali line between Shanghai and Hangzhou as well and with a trainspeed of 350 km/h, like between Beijing and Tianjin (also above ground), it seems to me a Maglev (430 km/h) is pretty cost inefficient.

    So I think these are buttresses for the new high speed train…

  4. This would be Shanghai-Hangzhou-Ningbo High Speed Passenger Line, due for completion during second half of next year.

    The Shanghai-Hangzhou Maglev Line could start construction after this high speed line is completed.

  5. Thanks Bert & anonymous, so this is likely the high speed train and not the Maglev. Well, 350 km/h or 430 km/h does not make too much of a difference on a 180 km track.

  6. Especially when the current Maglev has been capped off at 300 km/h for a while now, regardless of the time or weather, which makes the whole "maglev" thing irrelevant. (Shinkansens have been going faster for more than 30 years).

  7. I saw on Twitter as well somewhere that the Maglev speed was reduced to 300 km/h. Thought it was a temporary thing, but it is still going on? Where did you get this info, do you have a link?

  8. I don't have a link, however I took it at least 6 times in the past 2 months, some times at night, some times in the day, some times rainy, some times sunny, but always 300. I remember they used to slow it down to 300 at night, but now it seems to be all-around.

    Mind you this is my own personal anecdotal evidence, but the rate seems too high to be a "coincidence". On the other hand, they better spruce it up for the expo, because they clearly have been letting it go: it looks and feels at least twice its age already. (then again, that's nothing new around here).

  9. The current Maglev is capped at 300 km/h in the early and late hours, but still runs at 430 km/h for several hours per day. Last Sunday it was still running at full speed

  10. I commute on the maglev, I'm not sure about the first couple of runs, but at 9:15 it goes full-speed (431km/h) which they cut to 301km/h at (I think) 16:32.

    I've never seen the weather affect the running of the maglev.