On my last day in China I didn’t have much to do except go to the airport. But how to do that? Perhaps I could ride on the worlds fastest operational passenger train??! Sounds like a plan. Oh, also it’s a MAGNETICALLY LEVITATING TRAIN. It looks quite unassuming:
It’s very important before you go on the maglev that you do a bit of homework: because running the train at full speed is so uneconomical, it only operates at 430km/h at certain times of the day. Outside of these times it runs at a rather plodding and pedestrian 300km/h. You can find the times and speeds on this helpful website.
I timed my trip so I arrived for the 9am train which is the first 430km/h trip of the day. On the way there I had a bizarre taxi experience. I got in and asked “去龙阳路火车站！” and the driver said something like “磁悬浮站吧？” and I was like “…whut?”. 磁悬浮 of course is “magnetic-suspend-float” or “maglev”. In what universe do you expect a foreigner who can barely speak to know a word like that? :-? Anyway I managed to redeem myself a bit later by telling her that I really wanted to go to the station and not straight to the airport because I REALLY LIKE FAST TRAINS. This I think is one of the major problems with the maglev: it doesn’t actually go anywhere useful so you need to take a taxi or metro to get to the station.
While I was on the train I made a video so you too can experience the awesome. Note that the train is still accelerating at the start of the video, so it doesn’t reach the maximum speed until right at the end.