Test­ing starts on Bei­jing’s first ma­glev rail line

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By CHINA DAILY

Bei­jing’s first rail line us­ing mag­netic lev­i­ta­tion tech­nol­ogy is sched­uled to start run­ning next year, with en­gi­neers now test­ing the new trains, city of­fi­cials an­nounced on Sun­day.

The over­head ma­glev line, named S1, will run in the west, from Shi­jing­shan district’s Ping­guoyuan to Shi­meny­ing in the moun­tain­ous Men­tougou district. It will stretch about 10 kilo­me­ters and have eight sta­tions.

The travel time be­tween the two lo­ca­tions, cur­rently con­nected only by bus, will be cut by two-thirds to just 20 min­utes, ac­cord­ing to an anony­mous of­fi­cial from the Bei­jing Ma­jor Projects Con­struc­tion Of­fice quoted by Bei­jing Daily.

“It will take only the time it takes to eat a fast-food meal to travel the en­tire line,” he said. “Plus, the ma­glev train is more sta­ble, qui­eter and bet­ter at climb­ing hills com­pared with nor­mal trains.”

Once fin­ished, S1 will con­nect with the sub­way’s Line 1 and the west­ern ex­ten­sion of Line 6, which is un­der con­struc­tion.

Built in neigh­bor­ing He­bei prov­ince, the first ma­glev train was de­liv­ered to the cap­i­tal on Dec 16. Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials, the line will have 10 trains, each with a ca­pac­ity of 1,000 pas­sen­gers.

The line will make scenic spots in Bei­jing’s west­ern sub­urbs more eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble to res­i­dents and tourists.

“As much as I en­joy the seren­ity there, it takes me about two hours by bus to go to Tanzhe and Ji­etai tem­ples in Men­tougou,” said Liu Bo, 25, who lives in the city. “When the new line opens, I can go to the tem­ples more of­ten.

“It’s been a while since the work be­gan, so all I hope now is that it opens soon.”

Con­struc­tion on S1 be­gan in 2011 af­ter months of de­bate, with pub­lic fears raised about po­ten­tial ra­di­a­tion. How­ever, ex­perts have dis­missed such con­cerns.

“The line em­ploys closed mag­netic field tech­nol­ogy that el­e­vates the train about 1 cen­time­ter above the track to re­duce fric­tion. It leaks no mag­netic in­flu­ence out­side the con­trol­ling ‘red line’ dis­tance, there­fore it won’t af­fect nearby res­i­dents,” Li Jie, chief en­gi­neer of the ma­glev project, told Bei­jing Daily.

“As for pas­sen­gers in­side the train, as the ra­di­a­tion is non-ion­iz­ing like ra­dio waves, it’s nei­ther ac­cu­mu­la­tive nor harm­ful. At most, pas­sen­gers may feel a bit warmer.”

Al­though rare com­pared with con­ven­tional sub­way trains, ma­glev trains are not new to China. A high-speed ma­glev ser­vice has run from Shang­hai’s Pudong In­ter­na­tional Air­port to down­town Longyang Road since 2002. Trains travel at up 430 km per hour.

A medium-to-low speed ma­glev line that uses sim­i­lar tech­nol­ogy to Bei­jing’s S1 also opened in May be­tween cen­tral Chang­sha, cap­i­tal of Hu­nan prov­ince, and the city’s in­ter­na­tional air­port.

A mu­si­cian from the Military Band of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army re­hearses with a visu­ally im­paired child in Bei­jing on Sun­day. The group per­formed at a con­cert with a wind band com­posed of visu­ally im­paired chil­dren from Chongqing, who they have been tu­tor­ing since 2013.

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