Shanghai subway may expand into neighboring province

Shanghai's transit system is already admired as a model in China, with its expanding metro map, the maglev super-express train to the Pudong airport, and high ridership in the bus network.

Shanghai's transit system is already admired as a model in China, with its expanding metro map, the maglev super-express train to the Pudong airport, and high ridership in the bus network. Next comes a proposal to open a subway between Shanghai and neighboring Taicang, a Yangzi River port city in Jiangsu Province.

Construction began on No 11 line, which connects the financial center Pudong and the Formula 1 racing court in the rural district of Jiading, in March last year and will be completed before the 2010 World Expo.

The line will be extended 13.5 km and ultimately terminate in the town of Ludu at Taicang if the extension goes ahead.

If the expansion of a subway line seems uncontroversial, that has not been true for the maglev line and its expansion. Instead of running from downtown Shanghai to the airport, the existing maglev stops at a distant subway stop, where passengers switch to the metro. Although it's not a terribly long ride out to the transfer point, the sense of teleportation that you get when accelerating to 268 mph on your way to the airport is considerably dampened by getting on a regular old subway for the rest of your journey.

A plan to extend the maglev through neighborhoods to reach Hongqiao, Shanghai's older airport, met stiff opposition with unusually high-profile demonstrations early this year. Some demonstrators were concerned about the radiation from the massive system of electromagnets that suspends and propels the train. Others were worried that having an aviation-speed train cruising by would depress property values. After all, if you don't get to ride it, no one really wants a big loud train next to their home.

Shanghaiist posted a lot of material on this, including this video from a demonstration in January:

It so happens I am in Shanghai right now, with plans to visit the urban planning museum as an escape from work and the rain today. Perhaps I will have more to add.

About the author

    Formerly a journalist and consultant in Beijing, Graham Webster is a graduate student studying East Asia at Harvard University. At Sinobyte, he follows the effects of technology on Chinese politics, the environment, and global affairs. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network, and is not an employee of CNET. Disclosure.

     

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