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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 5 March, 2003, 13:51 GMT
Chinese train's $2.5m name
Auctioneers raise number plates at a makeshift auction site set up inside a Maglev station in Shanghai
The Shanghai company won the auction after 15 minutes
A Chinese property company has agreed to pay $2.5m to be given the rights to name the world's first magnetic levitation train, which links China's Shanghai city with its airport.

Shanghai Xinhu Real Estate Developing Co Ltd won an auction on Wednesday for the naming rights on China's maglev, which is scheduled to start carrying paying passengers later this year.

The auction, in which 11 companies took part, was an attempt by China to recoup some of the money spent on the $1.2bn train.

The winning company has not yet decided on a name for the train, but it would probably include Xinhu, a spokesman for Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co Ltd said.

The company will hold the naming rights for two years, and will also be allowed to advertise inside the German-made train for the same period, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji took a test-ride in a maglev late last year.
Maglev
Maglev
Floats on air, held by powerful opposing magnets
Speed: more than 430 km/h (260mph)
Cost: $1.2bn

Held by powerful magnets, the train travelled at speeds of over 400km/h (250mph) - completing the 30km (19 mile) journey in the planned time of eight minutes.

China has so far bought three trains from the Transrapid International consortium, which comprises German engineering firms ThyssenKrupp AG and Siemens AG, and the German Government.

Critics of the maglev train have said that at a cost of $1bn, it is too expensive and wastes energy.

They have argued that high-speed trains already in use in Japan and Europe can travel nearly as fast as maglev trains, but on standard tracks.


SEE ALSO:
Shanghai supertrain makes first journey
31 Dec 02 |  Asia-Pacific
German train deal for Shanghai
21 Jan 01 |  Europe
The magnetic attraction of trains
11 Nov 99 |  Science/Nature


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