PALMDALE – Palmdale City Councilman Steve Hofbauer and Assistant City Manager Steve Williams were in Shanghai, China, last week checking a high-speed train system that could be used in the future to rocket passengers between the Antelope Valley and downtown Los Angeles in 20 minutes. The two men are part of a Southern California delegation that checked out the maglev line in Shanghai. The delegation described it as the world’s first commercial commuter train line to use electromagnetic-levitation or maglev technology. The train line takes passengers from the Pudong International Airport to downtown Shanghai, about 19 miles, in eight minutes. Electromagnetic force makes the train hover about one-half inch off its guideway and propels it to speeds that can surpass 260 mph. Hofbauer said he and other riders felt a slight shudder as the magnets were activated and the train levitated about 20 seconds before it left the airport station, where the delegation boarded on Thursday. The maglev proposal is separate from California’s high-speed rail plan, which would use 200-mph trains on conventional steel rails to link Southern California and the Bay Area. That proposed project would have a stop in the Antelope Valley if it is ever built. Jim Skeen, (661) 267-5743 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! At that moment, the train was “just silently lifting itself up,” Hofbauer said. “As the train operates, there is only a low electrical hum, like what you might notice near a transformer, and you notice the sound of the wind against the skin of the train,” he said. Hofbauer and Williams are members of a delegation of the Orange Line Development Authority, an organization formed by local governments of 14 cities proposing a maglev train line from Irvine to Palmdale. The trip was financed by the agency. Hofbauer said the delegation got an opportunity to see the technology in action and to talk with government and project officials about the complexities of planning and building such a system. Maglev train supporters say the system can fit into urban areas more easily than conventional railroads or high-speed trains on steel tracks because maglev trains can get by on narrower rights-of-way. They operate on elevated guideways built over or beside conventional railroad tracks or freeways.