# Sunday, May 23, 2010

This weekend I was traveling to the World Expo in Shanghai and there is a maglev train connecting the airport to the metro system. The Shanghai Maglev Train was the world’s first commercial maglev train and also is the fastest.

Ok, ok, for those of you non-engineering geeks, a maglev train stands for: magnetic levitation. According to wikipedia:

Maglev, or magnetic levitation, is a system of transportation that suspends, guides and propels vehicles, predominantly trains, using magnetic levitation from a very large number of magnets for lift and propulsion. This method has the potential to be faster, quieter and smoother than wheeled mass transit systems. The power needed for levitation is usually not a particularly large percentage of the overall consumption; most of the power used is needed to overcome air drag, as with any other high speed train.

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We got on the train at the airport and rode and accelerated to 431 kph and then lasted at that speed for about a minute. In total we covered 30km in 8 minutes. This is the fastest train in the world.

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It was pretty cool, no real track! It was super quiet, the only thing we heard (besides all of the tourists like me taking photos) was the air outside zipping by. No sound of engines or wheels on a track.

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Kathleen was not impressed. She kept saying “dude stop taking photos of the train.”

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I gave her this to read in Wired about high speed rail in the US. They are coming soon.

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