Shanghai maglev extension faces big price hike

The cost of extending Shanghai's magnetic levitation train line may be double the original budget to take into account local residents' concerns about exposure to radiation and noise, according to local reports

A revised plan of the railway's proposed route - which would avoid densely-populated areas and have a wider buffer zone - may push costs to 500 million yuan (£35m) for each kilometre of the extended line, from 200 million yuan, the China Daily newspaper said, quoting an unnamed source.

Any extra funding still awaits government approval, but Shanghai authorities are unlikely to scrap the extension as they have already spent 10 billion yuan on the project, the paper added.

The Chinese government and a German consortium including German industrial giant Siemens, which helped develop maglev technology, have also discussed the possibility of extending the line by 160km (100 miles) to the city of Hangzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang province.

The Ministry of Railways and the Shanghai municipal government would each finance 40 per cent of the total investment for the Shanghai-Hangzhou maglev, while Zhejiang would finance the remainder, the paper said.

China has the only commercial maglev in operation in the world. Opened in 2003, the line covers 30km between the suburbs of Shanghai, the country's financial centre, and its international airport in Pudong. Trains run at up to 430km/h, completing the journey in less than seven-and-a-half minutes.

Image: A Shanghai maglev train - diverting the new route will cost millions

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