FACTBOX-Five facts about Shanghai's high-speed Maglev train

(For related story see [ID:nSHA333677])

Jan 15 (Reuters) - Hundreds of Shanghai residents protested at the weekend against plans to extend the city's magnetic levitation, or "maglev", train route into the city.

Here are some key facts on the high-speed train:

* Launched in China in 2003, Shanghai's system is the only commercial maglev in operation in the world. Built by the Chinese government and a German consortium, it cost a reported $1.4 billion.

* Instead of having wheels like regular trains, the maglev train floats on a magnetic cushion between the vehicle and track, and is held on the tracks by electromagnetic pull.

* The Shanghai maglev travels at a top speed of about 430 km (267 miles) per hour. The world's fastest train, France's TGV, was clocked at a record speed of 574.8 km per hour (357.2 miles per hour) in April 2007.

* The maglev currently runs 30 km (19 miles) between an outlying part of Shanghai's financial district in Pudong and the international airport. The city government wants to extend the train's route by 32 km (20 miles) through Shanghai to near the city's domestic airport, saying this would speed travel between the airports and pose no threat to public safety.

* But public opposition has grown since December 2007, with residents along the planned route complaining about the noise and claiming the electromagnetic radiation could damage their health.

Sources: Reuters, Shanghai Maglev Official Website (


Writing by Shahida Patail, Singapore Editorial Reference Unit