Future Train

Ultimate Engineering

The ultimate engineering behind the Shanghai MAGLEV train – the first of its kind – and the magnetic levitation science behind its construction.

Speeding at 430 kilometers an hour, The Shanghai MAGLEV train – or Shanghai Transrapid – turns the 30 kilometre journey from China’s Pudong International Airport to Shanghai into an eight-minute joyride. Parallax Film Productions profiles the ultimate engineering and the magnetic levitation science behind its construction.

This documentary shows how the Shanghai MAGLEV train is brought from prototype to commercial system in less than two years. All trains, propulsion, and control systems for Shanghai are built in Germany and shipped to China for installation. When the MAGLEV guideways were built to rise 30 metres above the streetscape, the pilings were driven into the ground to a depth of 70 metres to support the guide track and prevent settling. The result: MAGLEV travels at lightening speed, and magnetic levitation science has generated worldwide interest as growing populations drive an increased need for mass transit that’s high capacity, fast, and sustainable.

At a minimum cost of more than $10 million per kilometer of track, MAGLEV train infrastructure is not cheap to build. But the rapid transit technology combined with magnetic levitation science offers incredible potential solutions for pressing twenty-first century problems. But despite these benefits the Shanghai MAGLEV train remains an exception in transportation technology. Future Train reveals what’s slowing MAGLEV down.