Riding Maglev – the World’s fastest train in Shanghai

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What is the first thing I did as soon as I landed in Shanghai? Ate Dumplings? No! After picking up a much needed coffee (doesn’t count), I went ahead and took a ride on the world’s FASTEST train – The Maglev!

What is the Maglev you ask?

It is a magnetic levitation train which means it never really touches the ground. It is kind of flying in the air, or well hovering at one third the speed of sound *jaw drop*!

Woah! Tell me more!

It connects Pudong International Airport and Longyang Road Station. The maximum operating speed is written as 430 km/h. However, it momentarily reaches the top speed of 431 km/h which is 268 mph.  It is faster than the TGV in France and also faster than the top speed of any Formula One and Motogp prototype.

Maglev Timetable

However, do keep in mind that it also operates at a maximum speed of about 300 km/h, depending upon the time. So, do check the timetable beforehand if you really want to experience the record breaking speed. The train completes the 30 km journey in only 7 minutes!

There are only two things that can travel faster than the Maglev train – Airplanes and Spaceships

How can I make it happen?

Shanghai Maglev

You can experience the intriguing Maglev train straight after landing in Shanghai’s Pudong airport like I did or when you have to get to the airport. The line runs from Pudong International Airport to Longyang Road Station and vice versa.

Before I landed in Shanghai, I was worried about finding my way through the airport, but clear English signage made it a breeze to reach the Maglev station. There is a ticketing booth right outside the entry.

The line is not a part of the Shanghai Metro network. So, you will have to purchase a separate ticket even if you have a metro pass. A one-way ticket costs ¥50 (US$8), or ¥40 ($6.40) for passengers having a boarding pass or air ticket of the same day. A round-trip ticket costs ¥80 ($12.80) but you need to present proof of a return air ticket. Also, the return journey can be taken within 7 days of purchase only. There are also VIP tickets available which cost double the standard fare.

The prices might seem a little pricey for a 7 minute journey, but, it is the world’s FASTEST train, so totally worth it!

Maglev Shanghai

Once, you’ve bought your ticket, plod into the gold- pillared room with a digital clock counting the seconds to the next departure. As you wait for the gates to open, you can study the vast network of the Shanghai Metro or pick up a map of Shanghai (which might come in handy if you forgot to install a VPN app before arriving).

I expected to see the train “floating” in, but as I descended the escalator, the Maglev was already there, “levitating” in all its glory!

The Journey

Maglev Shanghai

The doors were already open. So, I stepped into a clean, spacious, modern looking carriage with blue seats that had NO seatbelts! Like seriously? I expected something to hold me in place as we rocket 30 km at an unbelievable speed! There was also a digital clock and speedometer at each end of the carriage so that you know when to interrupt into a happy dance.

So, after I lugged my heavy suitcase into the luggage rack, I sank in one of the comfortable seats as I waited for the beast to start. Soon, the doors shut and we slipped out of the station. There was no time to waste. The train immediately accelerated towards its goal, the sound of speed making my heart beat in rhythm.

The speedometer reached 100 km/h, then 200 and it just kept going as the landscape smeared by. I kept switching from looking out the window to the speedometer. It made me want to have an extra pair of eyes just so that I could absorb it all! So, in one of those moments, I missed another Maglev going in the opposite direction. It was only when I felt a rumble, I looked and it was already gone. Luckily, my camera captured it (shown in the video)!

The Moment of Glory

Shanghai Maglev

Transrapid claims that the train is quiet and smooth. But, as you approach the top speed, you can hear the floor growl and the carriage waggle a little. But I didn’t care! I was at top speed! There was a light cheer. People stood up to record videos and click pictures. With my clumsy sense of balance, I didn’t risk it. The speed fluctuates between 430 km/h and 431 for a while but obviously not long enough. The train soon slows down and everything outside the window comes back into focus. The world is slow again. We crawl our way back from the future as we slide into Longyang Road Station.

What Next?

If you want to know more about the Maglev, there is a Museum for it under the Longyang Road Station. Then, you can either transfer to the regular metro network or catch a cab or bus to get to your destination.

 

I wanted to catch the Maglev back to the airport just to experience it again. It’s not fair that it doesn’t go on forever. The speed is exhilarating. I guess there will come a time when regular trains will operate at that speed. But, for now, I know I tasted the future!

 

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9 thoughts on “Riding Maglev – the World’s fastest train in Shanghai

  • January 20, 2018 at 9:31 am
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    I’ve taken the Maglev a few years ago between Shanghai and Hangzhou before I started blogging haha so my photos don’t really do it justice! It was so cool seeing the speedometer rapidly shoot up to 400+kpm/hr! I think our ticket was a lot more expensive since it was much farther away. I really couldn’t feel anything while we were on the train of anything out of the ordinary. Love that you shared your experience!

    Reply
    • January 29, 2018 at 11:21 am
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      Thank you so much! I’m jealous you got a longer ride on the Maglev 😛 I just couldn’t get enough of it in the 8 minutes I had! And yes, it’s almost an adrenaline rush when the speedometer inches towards the top speed!

      Reply
  • January 20, 2018 at 9:59 am
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    Wow this is amazing! My husband just told me about an underground route for cars that will speed up transpiration on the East Coast. From New York City to D.C. It will only take 20 minutes, but now I’m more impressed with this train! I would love to experience this train. To be honest, I don’t think it’s pricey at all. It gets to from point A to point B wicked fast and in this day in age, time is money! Really nice review of your experience, you sold me.

    Reply
    • January 29, 2018 at 11:24 am
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      Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed this post! I totally agree, I found the price to be so worth it, especially when I returned to the airport by a normal metro and saw the time it took me to reach there!

      Reply
  • January 25, 2018 at 8:11 pm
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    OMG the train doesn’t even touch the ground? I can’t even imagine it! This train sounds absolutely insane! I can only imagine how it felt when you fit top speed.

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    • January 29, 2018 at 11:25 am
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      Haha! No, it doesn’t. There is a very small gap between the tracks and the train because of the magnets. Cool right?

      Reply
  • January 26, 2018 at 4:45 am
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    I will never forget when I first used the TGV in France. I think it was the fastest train then. I can imagine the excitement to be in even a faster train…

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  • February 1, 2018 at 3:43 pm
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    Wow! I have never heard of this train but I’ll love to have a ride in it when in Shangai. I love fast trains and it’s a shame not to try the fastest one! 🙂

    Reply

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