Maybe they’ll call it the Panda Express!
Last week, China’s first-ever suspended railway car made its first test run. Though it may not be the first ever suspended railway in the world – that distinction goes to the Wuppertal in Germany, which began operating in 1901 – it definitely is the cutest.
Apparently the Chengdu area of China, where the train is located, already has a panda-themed subway train and is home to the Chengdu Panda Base, a large panda conservatory.
Meet the 1st panda-themed subway train & subway station that began their trial operation in SW China's Chengdu, Sun. https://t.co/i8MJGWZ84Z—
People's Daily,China (@PDChina) July 31, 2016
Current plans for the train are to extend the track to 1.25 kilometers (about .77 miles). While the Chiba Urban Monorail in Japan beats the Chengdu line for the title of the longest suspended monorail train at 15.2 kilometers (about 9.4 miles) of train track, what the Chengdu train lacks in length, it reportedly makes up in environmental friendliness. The train runs on lithium ion batteries, which the chief designer of the project says is less harmful to the environment than traditional energy sources.
The train can carry up to 120 people at a time, but unless you’ve got some where to go, the interior is bland enough that it seems like it would actually be more entertaining to just watch the panda soar through the air like the next Marvel superhero.
The train isn’t ready to take passengers just yet, but the first test run on September 30th went off without a hitch. Apparently there plans are additional suspension trains in more scenic areas in the works for next year.
Riding in a panda flying through the sky isn’t the only awesome mode of transportation China has experimented with; the straddle bus is another recent interesting innovation that seeks to combat some the country’s traffic woes. Perhaps on your next trip to China, you’ll be able to take a ride on both!
Check out the video below for 60 seconds of futuristic, electronica-driven info about the panda train: