A medium-low speed maglev train in Changsha, capital of Hunan province, is in operation. Image: Xinhua
The first Chinese middle-to-low speed magnetically levitated (maglev) rail line began operation in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan province.
The maglev shuttles between Changsha's south railway station and the Huanghua International airport, with one stop in between. It takes 19 minutes and 30 seconds to complete the 18.55-km journey, according to a statement from the operator, Hunan Maglev Transport Co.
The train can carry 363 people at a maximum speed of 100 km per hour. The price of a one-way ticket is 20 yuan (about $3). Soon, airline passengers will be able to check in and deposit their bags at a new terminal in the railway station. Construction of the maglev train project, designed and manufactured by CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co., Ltd., began in May 2014 with a total investment of 4.29 billion yuan.
The line costs between 150 million yuan and 250 million yuan per kilometer, making it highly economical compared to subways and light rail, which cost up to 800 million yuan and 300 million yuan per km respectively.
Middle-to-low speed trains produce very little noise and occupy much less land than subways, according to a representative from CRRC. "The environmentally friendly maglev not only diversifies city transportation, but also creates a more harmonious relationship between cities and the environment," the representative said.