A high-speed maglev railway from East China's Shanghai to Hangzhou is expected to win government approval soon and start construction within this year, said a deputy to the Tenth National People's Congress (NPC).
"The railway is expected to go into operation before the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai," said the deputy from Shanghai, who declined to be identified.
He said the construction will take four years with a total cost of 35 billion yuan (about 4.3 billion U.S. dollars). It is designed to alleviate traffic pressure between Shanghai and Hangzhou during the World Expo.
"The Shanghai-Hangzhou railway will in part use German technology, but the main technology comes from Chinese engineers," said the deputy, who is in Beijing to attend the annual NPC session.
He said relevant Chinese and German institutions are negotiating on technology transfer.
The planed railway, less than 200 kilometers long, allows maglev trains to run at a speed as high as 430 kilometers an hour. It will take passengers only half an hour to travel from Shanghai to Hangzhou. Six stations are planned on the route, including one near the shanghai Hongqiao airport.
Experts said if there are 70 million visits to the Shanghai World Expo as predicted, the existing accommodation facilities are unable to meet the demand.
The planned maglev railway is expected to further beef up links between Shanghai and Hangzhou and boost cooperation among the areas in the booming Yangtze River Delta.
The deputy said Shanghai is also considering the possibility of building a low-speed maglev railway at a speed of around 100 kilometers an hour. Japan built such a low-speed maglev railway to solve transport issues during a World Expo in the country.