GPS tracking of the journey in a Maglev train to Shanghai Pudong Airport

I find it great fun to record GPS tracks wherever I go, whether it is walking or flying in a plane. Here is a couple of examples from trips to Madeira and Beijing.

The Maglev was a bit of a challenge. The reflective windows attenuate the GPS satellite quite a bit. On previous journeys I thought - judging from the low satellite signal bars - it's going to be impossible, but on my last trip to Shanghai, I tried again holding my Garmin eTrex HCx close to the window, and it worked great this time.


The trains run from Longyan Road station to Pudong Terminal 1 over a total length of approx. 30 km. See more info here.



 GPS recording technique

The train terminal in Longyan Road has a pretty thin roof, which allows some satellite signal to get through to your GPS unit. Therefore, you can get a fix while waiting for your train on the platform.

It is probably impossible to get a good recording of the reverse journey from the Pudong terminal to Longyan Road, as this is housed in a solid concrete building. I tried this and obtained a satellite fix only after a few minutes (half the train journey had already passed :-))


I obtained a good GPS trace from departure from Longyan Road to the train entering the Pudong Terminal building, the remainder could not be recorded due to it being shielded under a concrete roof. 

Click to enlarge

There is almost linear acceleration until the train reaches its top speed of 431 km/h, which it keeps up only for about 30 seconds.

This just shows the elapsed journey distance. 

That's it!

Remember, it is technically still not allowed to record GPS tracks in China, so be sensible and keep a low profile about it.

If you want to experience the thrill of travelling on one of the fastest passenger trains in the world, make sure you check the timetable before you go, as the trains operate at 431 km/h top speed only during certain hours of the day. At other times they go up to 300 km/h, which does increase your journey time by a whole minute!! - I'm sure you could live with that.

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