Beijing’s first ever maglev train made its first test run on elevated tracks in the capital this week. If all goes well, the new line is expected to be open for business by the end of the year.
Maglev trains operate using magnetic levitation, meaning they actually hover above the track which enables them to run smoother and faster than traditional trains. The new line will run through western Beijing, stretching 10 kilometers from Pingguoyuan (Shijingshan District) to Shimenying (Mentougou District) and stopping at eight stations.
There is currently no subway connecting these two areas, and current travel time by bus takes approximately one hour. However, the new maglev train will cut travel time down to only 20 minutes. The new train will run at a maximum speed of 105km/h.
The maglev train will also connect with Line 1 and the western part of Line 6, which is currently being built.
These new lines are all part of Beijing's massive subway expansion. Over 350 kilometers of new lines will be worked on this year alone.
By 2020 it is expected that 90 percent of the main Beijing area will have one subway stop with 750 meters.