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Craig Platt takes a short ride and watches the world go by - in a blur.
It was all taken care of. A car had been arranged to pick me up at the hotel and get me to Shanghai International Airport two hours before my flight.
But the day before I leave, Henk Meyknecht, manager of the Langham Yangtze Boutique Shanghai, has a suggestion: why not get the car to take me to the Maglev station and catch the train to the airport?
It's an idea I can't resist. After all, Shanghai's Maglev (that's short for magnetic levitation, don't you know) is the world's fastest operating train.
But if I take a detour to the train station, will I need to set aside more time for the journey? I'd allowed an hour to get to the airport by car. How long does the train trip take?
Henk laughs. "About seven minutes."
Shanghai's Maglev is officially a "demonstration" line. As China works to build one of the world's greatest high-speed rail networks, debate has raged in the country over what type of technology to employ. The airport line was created to demonstrate – and test – the feasibility of maglev technology as a potential form of transport between Shanghai and Beijing.
Shanghai runs two Maglevs on parallel tracks. Construction began in March 2001 and the first trip for passengers took place in October 2003.
On board, the seats are large and comfortable – the sort you might expect on a journey that's going to last several hours, not mere minutes.
After stowing my suitcase in the luggage rack near the door, I take a window seat and prepare for the ride. Apart from a mild jerk as we start moving, the train is incredibly smooth. And it goes like the clappers.
The makers have added a nice touch to each carriage: a large speedometer that lets passengers see how fast we're going. The train accelerates at an incredible pace. Within 30 seconds we're already approaching 200km/h.
There's a palpable excitement among the passengers as the speed continues to increase. Outside the window, buildings whizz by so fast its difficult to focus on them.
As the track turns, the train tilts, adding a sense of amusement park ride to this engineering marvel.
I've been on fast trains before, in Japan, but on board I never really felt like I was moving particularly fast. I feel the same way on the Maglev . . . until we hit 400 km/h.
Looking out the window, I see cars on a highway that are probably doing 100km/h. We're flying past them like they're stuck in first gear.
The other Maglev suddenly whips past us going the other way – truly a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment.
The acceleration slows as we approach our top speed – 431km/h. At this point, most of the passengers are getting up to take photos of the speedometer. Even the stoic Asian businessman on my left can't resist getting up and snapping a pic on his iPhone.
It's a shared moment as we look around at each other with grins on our faces, before turning back to the window to watch the world rush by. After about a minute at top speed, the train begins slowing down – we're still a few minutes away from the airport, but to get back from 431km/h to zero takes time.
The moment has passed, but it's hard to forget what must be the best airport commute in the world.
Photos: The world's fastest train
The writer travelled to Shanghai as a guest of Langham Hotels.
The Maglev travels between Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Longyang Road Station (about 20 minutes from the city centre on the standard rail network). Trains depart every 15-20 minutes. A one-way ticket costs 50 yuan (about $8) or 40 yuan if you present your airline ticket as evidence of air travel the same day. The train does not always reach its top speed. At certain times during the day it is limited to 300km/h. See http://www.smtdc.com/en for details.