Beijing to Add Maglev’s to Metro Network

Monday, July 27, 2009 4:04
Posted in category China Logistics

When visiting Beijing several weeks ago, I was clear that the traffic issues that were began shortly after the SARS epidemic were out of control.  What ws once a half hour drive, was now an hour.  3rd ring road was a parking lot… connected to another parking lot.. and the only way to get around was on the metro.

A metro system, that while new, was too limited in its number of lines and stations.

Limitations that city planners apparently can be overcome through the introduction of high speed maglev lines into its metro network.  A technology that brought out the masses last year in Shanghai, the quote that I believe was the most interesting was from the Maglev Development firm’s R&D department:

“Low and medium-speed maglev trains are more suitable for urban areas of cities like Beijing,”

Trains that, unlike its 400+ km Shanghai counterpart, will be limited to between 80-100km/ hour, a speed that is already being achieved by the non-maglev trains on Beijing’s network.

So, why use it when there are other Chinese technologies that are faster? Why risk resident reactions to the microwaves? According to the Beijing Enterprises Holding Maglev Technology Development Corporation (who conducted the feasibility study)

compared with subway and light railways, maglevs boast greener credentials with lower noise, less radiation and greater energy efficiency.

But, my guess is that failing to pass the Shanghai extension, there are some who are still looking to prove that this technology can be scaled out on a nationwide basis and that Beijing could provide the best opportunity fr doing so. It has the sprawl that justifies the need (technically), it has a population that is looking for an alternative to the current system, and with Beijing’s infrastructural conditions being what they are (fewer metro lines, fewer tall buildings to avoid, and bedrock) it can be easily buried underground.

UPDATE: another article came across the RSS feed related to maglev that I thought was a very interesting application.  transporting coal.  Apparently tpreparations are under way to test 2 trains in Inner Mongolia.  Perhaps this will result in a new form of freight transport?

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2 Responses to “Beijing to Add Maglev’s to Metro Network”

  1. Alex says:

    July 27th, 2009 at 6:52 am

    And I was just getting over Dalian’s announcement of 9 subway lines!

    Love your linked line (excuse the pun) “…to increase transport speeds and efficiencies, and to reduce pollution.” Using maglevs to transport coal in order to reduce pollution, genius!

  2. Rich says:

    July 27th, 2009 at 7:00 am


    How is everything in Dalian these days?

    9 lines. That is amazing. how many are already open?

    Yeah – I have no idea if the idea is for green, or for someone getting more green, but it was the only reason they provided.

    Hope all is well