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Demolition to start for Maglev line, despite fears

05-14-2010 14:04 BJT

Demolition to clear the way for the Mentougou subway line will start in September despite public fears about radiation from Beijing's first Maglev train.

Construction of the line, which will link Shimenying, in Mentougou district, to Cishousi, in Haidian district, will be carried out in two parts, the China Academy of Railway Science said on Wednesday.

Work on the western line between Shimenying and Pingguoyuan is set to start in May 2011 and the line is expected to be operational before 2014.

The easterly line between Pingguoyuan and Cishousi should be in operation by February 2017 and construction will begin in November 2013.

The authority is seeking public feedback about the project before May 22 and will listen to concerns about environmental pollution, including noise and radiation.

The route, which will be almost 22 km in length, will be served by the first Maglev train to be developed in China. It will run at low to medium speeds, say its developers.

Maglev technology suspends, guides and propels vehicles using magnets.

Supporters say it is quieter and smoother than traditional train technology and safer at high speeds.

However, critics say the trains could pose a radiation risk.

The technology for the Mentougou subway line is being developed by the Beijing Enterprises Holdings Maglev Technology Development Co, which says it will tailor the trains to urban areas with large populations.

The trains will operate at between 100 km and 120 km per hour and noise 10 m from the tracks will be 64 decibels - 28 less than light rail trains in Beijing.

"Investment in the Maglev train will be about 400 million yuan, which is a little more expensive than light rail trains but much cheaper than subways," said Cong Chunshui, vice-manager of the Maglev Technology Development Co.

He said the homegrown technology will also pose no threat in terms of radiation.

"The radiation from our Maglev train is at the same level as a light rail train," Cong said.

"People regard Maglev as dangerous but our train uses different technology to previous versions of the Maglev train."

He said the company has been studying Maglev technology for 30 years and techniques are now mature.

"People's health is guaranteed, even if they live 10 m from the Maglev line," he said.

However, some residents in the Bisenli community, which is right next to the proposed line, are unconvinced.

"The statistics they have are just test results and no one really knows the impact," said resident Fu Zhizhao.

People from 300 households in Bisenli signed a petition against the line on May 8 and that number has continued to grow, said petition organizer Gao Jie.

Gao, who hasn't counted the total number who have now supported the petition, said she will contact people in neighboring communities to see if they would like to ad their names.

She said at least six other communities will be directly affected by the line.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: China Daily

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