China's first sky train rolls into operation in Chengdu

China's first public suspension railway, dubbed the "sky train", will undergo a trial.
China's first public suspension railway, dubbed the "sky train", will undergo a trial. PHOTO: CCTVNEWS/FACEBOOK

CHENGDU - China's first public suspension railway officially began operation in the south-western city of Chengdu on Monday (Nov 21), as part of a trial run that if successful, will see the new mode of transport rolled out to other parts of the country.

Dubbed the "sky train" by Chinese media, the trains are powered by lithium batteries and have a maximum speed of 60kmh - similar to most subway trains.

Each train can also hold over 100 passengers in each of its two cabins.

The "sky train" hangs from a rail about 8m above the ground and will be tested along a 1.4km route.

China's use of the technology, said by experts to cost a fifth of that of an underground metro line, follows the example set by Japan and Germany.

Journalists who had the chance to try out the trains reported that the ride was "smooth" with only moderate shaking throughout their journey.

According to the South China Morning Post, Chengdu has plans for two "sky train" lines pending a successful trial.

One of the routes will take commuters to all of the city's tourist attractions, with construction slated to start next year.

The other line, which will reportedly stretch for 20km, will run from the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport to the middle of Shuangliu county.