sábado, 16 de junio de 2018

The Shanghai Maglev is the fastest commuter train in the world

This is part 2 of my super China expedition bonanza!!!

If you have never been to Shanghai Pudong airport before, you'll be vastly grateful to know that they filled the place with very straightforward signs to make it insanely easy to locate the Maglev train. Once you exit the terminal, there is a sign right above showing the way (image with my selfie above)

You just have to continue walking ahead around 300 meters. Now, along the way, they had a bunch of quirky looking statues (image not shown, but if you want me to add to the post, just send me a message in the comments section!), and in the middle, an unusual treat for China: those flat escalator walkway things that are omnipresent at airports. There were times in China's train stations that I would have loved to see these things... particularly at Hangzhou's East station.

Halfway along the way, the signs post the entrance to the subway. The other exits are the bus stops and parking lots.

Eventually you reach the Maglev ticket office and just tell them in clear English that you want to buy a ticket. A one way ticket costs 50 yuan. I showed the guy my used plane ticket and I got a nice 10 yuan discount. Hey, 30 MXN saved is 30 MXN! I got my little ticket and I was directed to a side entrance that had a nice waiting room.

The waiting room has comfy red velvet chairs and a spiffy Maglev figurine. Eventually, the next train was due to arrive and the lady informed us to go down the escalator to the train track. How fun!

It's fairly simple to get inside the train. They have a storage room next to the doors for heavy luggage and unusually bright turquoise fabric seats. Oddly enough, the chairs are set backwards in the opposite direction of the train. I can only presume it's for safety reasons due to the immense speed it attains.

Now here is the big question. What does it smell like? Oddly musty, but a different odor from an old grandma's home. Maybe add a little sweat in here.

For better (more like worse) I sat next to a window that was awfully blurry with glasses that were blurred from humidity. And no, the humidity didn't magically evaporate or clear away during my ride. Darn!

The train had more and more people pouring in and 10 minutes later, we were on our way! The views are rather ordinary, highways, residential districts, some farms, nothing that is awfully different from my experience riding the Skytrain in Tokyo. The Maglev also doesn't start at 0 and in 10 seconds reach 400 km/hr, it's more gradual. It spent most of the trip at around 200 km/hr.

However, around the 2 1/2 minute point, the train starts to accelerate big time and you feel a strong pressure in your body. Unlike normal bullet trains where you can comfortably stand up and walk around, I wouldn't test my luck at the speeds this monster attains. It started reaching 350 km/hr and that is when I decided to record the cute video pasted below. Enjoy!

Before I knew it, the train slowed down and after what seemed like only 5 minutes (the company claims the trip lasts a bit over 7), I was feeling like "This is it?". Maybe it's because I expected a longer haul after riding two planes for around a total of 18 hours, but the experience felt rather fleeting.

However, it's an amazing trip that comfortably brought me to Longyang Road subway station. From here, you descend the escalator and just follow the signs into the subway and well, here ends my second post of my super China trip. If you are ever going to Shanghai Pudong Airport, you should try this train out!

Oh, BTW, when they claim the train closes at 10 pm, no joking, the train stops serving before 10 pm. If your plane arrives or leaves too early or late, you will have to miss out on this awesome experience. :'(

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