Hi-tech Chinese train's tracks 'sinking'

The tracks under the world’s first commercial magnetic-levitation train are sinking, possibly threatening the €1.1bn Chinese project, a newspaper reported in Shanghai today.

The tracks under the world’s first commercial magnetic-levitation train are sinking, possibly threatening the €1.1bn Chinese project, a newspaper reported in Shanghai today.

The 270 mph “maglev” began regular operation this year, linking Shanghai’s new international airport with its eastern financial district.

“We have been aware of the sinking of our maglev track,” Xia Guozhong, a spokesman for the company running the project, said.

The Shanghai Daily gave no details of the sinking and it was not clear how it would affect operations.

The tracks are sinking “very slightly,” said Xia.

A spokeswoman for the Shanghai city government said she had no information on the report.

German companies spent decades and billions of pounds developing maglev technology, but had searched in vain for a customer until Shanghai leaders picked the system as a way to highlight the city’s high-tech ambitions.

While a certain amount of settling was normal, too much could harm the project, Shanghai Daily quoted Chinese experts as saying.

“If the track sinks beyond its safety level, managers will have to stop the line’s operation,” Yu Jiakang, a senior engineer with the Shanghai Tunnel Engineering and Rail Transit Design and Research Institute, was quoted as saying.

The 440-seat trains carried an average of just 73 passengers per day last month.

Tickets are considered too pricey for most residents and the train’s station is inconveniently located miles from the heart of town.

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