A group of journalists took a ride on Shanghai's new high-speed maglev train last week, a day after Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder rode the rails. The magnetic levitation train links the city to Pudong International Airport, and is due to begin commercial operation some time late in the year. Complaints about poor transport links to the distant airport, which started taking all international flights in October, are common among local residents and foreign visitors alike. A taxi between the airport and the city centre costs roughly 140 yuan (HK$131) and takes at least an hour. The airport bus is much cheaper, but it takes longer and the schedule can be unpredictable. Speeding by the farmland of Pudong at 430km/h, passengers on the new train are at once seduced by the speed and technology. Before being ushered into the carriages, attendants warn passengers about the danger of electric shocks from the incoming train. Just out of the station, in front of large crowds gathered on a nearby hillside, the train is already doing 70km/h. Applause breaks out in the carriages as the speedometer touches 431km/h. In the economy cabin, each seat has its own reading light - although there is barely time to glance at a page. Exactly seven minutes after leaving the station, the train arrives at the airport. But there are still some problems with the experimental technology, pioneered by German companies. 'It's still a bit noisy,' said one engineer. Some passengers say the ride is too bumpy. Going around a bend, the train tilts and one man grabs the seat in front of him, shouting a warning to his companion. Developers say the control system needs changing and the propulsion system can be improved. Another problem is the location of the station, on Longyang Road, in the heart of Pudong. People using the train will still have to take the subway for part of their journey, an inconvenience with heavy luggage. Also, the train operator has yet to set the ticket price.