Maglev (derived from magnetic levitation) is a system of train
transportation that uses two sets of magnets, one set to repel and
push the train up off the track as in levitation (hence Maglev,
Magnetic-levitation), then another set to move the 'floating train'
ahead at great speed taking advantage of the lack of friction. Within
certain "medium range" locations (usually between 200-400 miles)
Maglev can compete favorably with high speed rail and airplanes.
Maglev technology, there are no moving parts. The train travels
along a guideway of magnets which control the train's stability and
Maglev trains are therefore quieter and smoother than
conventional trains, and have the potential for much higher speeds.
Maglev vehicles hold the speed record for trains and
Maglev trains can
accelerate and decelerate much faster than conventional trains; the
only practical limitation is the safety and comfort of the passengers.
The power needed for levitation is typically not a large percentage of
the overall energy consumption of a high speed maglev system.
Overcoming drag, which makes all land transport more energy intensive
at higher speeds, takes up the most energy.
Vactrain technology has
been proposed as a means to overcome this limitation.
Maglev systems have been much more expensive to construct than
conventional train systems, although the simpler construction of
maglev vehicles makes them cheaper to manufacture and
maintain. Despite over a century of research and
development, maglev transport systems are in operation in just three
countries (Japan, South Korea and China). The incremental benefits of
maglev technology have often been hard to justify against cost and
risk, especially where there is an existing or proposed conventional
high speed train line with spare passenger carrying capacity, as in
continental Europe, the UK and Japan.
2.1 First maglev patent
2.2 New York, United States, 1968
2.3 Hamburg, Germany, 1979
2.4 Birmingham, United Kingdom, 1984–95
2.5 Emsland, Germany, 1984–2012
2.6 Japan, 1969–present
2.7 Vancouver, Canada and Hamburg, Germany, 1986–88
2.8 Berlin, Germany, 1989–91
2.9 South Korea, 1993–present
Electromagnetic suspension (EMS)
Electrodynamic suspension (EDS)
3.4.3 Guidance system
3.5 Evacuated tubes
3.6 Energy use
3.7 Comparison with conventional trains
3.8 Comparison with aircraft
5.1 History of maglev speed records
6.1 Test tracks
6.1.1 San Diego, California USA
6.1.2 SCMaglev, Japan
6.1.3 FTA's UMTD program
6.1.4 Southwest Jiaotong University, China
6.1.5 Sengenthal, Germany
6.2 Operational systems
Linimo (Tobu Kyuryo Line, Japan)
6.2.4 Daejeon Expo Maglev
6.2.5 Changsha Maglev
6.2.6 Beijing S1 Line
7 Maglevs under construction
7.1 AMT test track – Powder Springs, Georgia
7.2 Tokyo –
Nagoya – Osaka
7.3 SkyTran –
Tel Aviv (Israel)
8 Proposed maglev systems
8.3 United Kingdom
8.4 United States
8.12 Hong Kong
10 See also
13 Further reading
14 External links
In the late 1940s, the British electrical engineer Eric Laithwaite, a
professor at Imperial College London, developed the first full-size
working model of the linear induction motor. He became professor of
heavy electrical engineering at Imperial College in 1964, where he
continued his successful development of the linear motor. Since
linear motors do not require physical contact between the vehicle and
guideway, they became a common fixture on advanced transportation
systems in the 1960s and 70s. Laithwaite joined one such project, the
Tracked Hovercraft, although the project was cancelled in 1973.
The linear motor was naturally suited to use with maglev systems as
well. In the early 1970s, Laithwaite discovered a new arrangement of
magnets, the magnetic river, that allowed a single linear motor to
produce both lift and forward thrust, allowing a maglev system to be
built with a single set of magnets. Working at the British Rail
Research Division in Derby, along with teams at several civil
engineering firms, the "transverse-flux" system was developed into a
The first commercial maglev people mover was simply called "MAGLEV"
and officially opened in 1984 near Birmingham, England. It operated on
an elevated 600 m (2,000 ft) section of monorail track
Birmingham International railway
station, running at speeds up to 42 km/h (26 mph). The
system was closed in 1995 due to reliability problems.
First maglev patent
High-speed transportation patents were granted to various inventors
throughout the world. Early United States patents for a linear
motor propelled train were awarded to German inventor Alfred Zehden.
The inventor was awarded U.S. Patent 782,312 (14 February 1905) and
U.S. Patent RE12,700 (21 August 1907). [note 1] In 1907, another early
electromagnetic transportation system was developed by F. S. Smith.
A series of German patents for magnetic levitation trains propelled by
linear motors were awarded to
Hermann Kemper between 1937 and
1941.[note 2] An early maglev train was described in U.S. Patent
3,158,765, "Magnetic system of transportation", by G. R. Polgreen (25
August 1959). The first use of "maglev" in a United States patent was
Magnetic levitation guidance system" by Canadian Patents and
New York, United States, 1968
In 1968, while delayed in traffic on the Throgs Neck Bridge, James
Powell, a researcher at
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), thought
of using magnetically levitated transportation. Powell and BNL
Gordon Danby worked out a MagLev concept using static
magnets mounted on a moving vehicle to induce electrodynamic lifting
and stabilizing forces in specially shaped loops, such as figure of 8
coils on a guideway.
Hamburg, Germany, 1979
Transrapid 05 was the first maglev train with longstator propulsion
licensed for passenger transportation. In 1979, a 908 m
(2,979 ft) track was opened in
Hamburg for the first
International Transportation Exhibition (IVA 79). Interest was
sufficient that operations were extended three months after the
exhibition finished, having carried more than 50,000 passengers. It
was reassembled in
Kassel in 1980.
Birmingham, United Kingdom, 1984–95
The world's first commercial maglev system was a low-speed maglev
shuttle that ran between the airport terminal of Birmingham
Airport and the nearby
Birmingham International railway
station between 1984 and 1995. Its track length was 600 m
(2,000 ft), and trains levitated at an altitude of 15 mm
(0.59 in), levitated by electromagnets, and propelled with linear
induction motors. It operated for 11 years and was initially very
popular with passengers, but obsolescence problems with the electronic
systems made it progressively unreliable as years passed, leading to
its closure in 1995. One of the original cars is now on display at
Railworld in Peterborough, together with the RTV31 hover train
vehicle. Another is on display at the National Railway Museum in York.
Several favourable conditions existed when the link was built:
The British Rail Research vehicle was 3 tonnes and extension to the 8
tonne vehicle was easy.
Electrical power was available.
The airport and rail buildings were suitable for terminal platforms.
Only one crossing over a public road was required and no steep
gradients were involved.
Land was owned by the railway or airport.
Local industries and councils were supportive.
Some government finance was provided and because of sharing work, the
cost per organization was low.
After the system closed in 1995, the original guideway lay dormant
until 2003, when a replacement cable-hauled system, the AirRail Link
Cable Liner people mover, was opened.
Emsland, Germany, 1984–2012
Transrapid at the
Emsland test facility
Emsland test facility
Transrapid, a German maglev company, had a test track in
a total length of 31.5 km (19.6 mi). The single-track line
Lathen with turning loops at each end. The
trains regularly ran at up to 420 km/h (260 mph). Paying
passengers were carried as part of the testing process. The
construction of the test facility began in 1980 and finished in 1984.
In 2006, the
Lathen maglev train accident occurred killing 23 people,
found to have been caused by human error in implementing safety
checks. From 2006 no passengers were carried. At the end of 2011 the
operation licence expired and was not renewed, and in early 2012
demolition permission was given for its facilities, including the
track and factory.
See also: Chūō Shinkansen
JNR ML500 at a test track in Miyazaki, Japan, on 21 December 1979
travelled at 517 km/h (321 mph), authorized by Guinness
Japan operates two independently developed maglev trains. One is HSST
(and its descendant, the
Linimo line) by
Japan Airlines and the other,
which is more well-known, is
SCMaglev by the Central
The development of the latter started in 1969. Miyazaki test track
regularly hit 517 km/h (321 mph) by 1979. After an accident
that destroyed the train, a new design was selected. In Okazaki, Japan
SCMaglev took a test ride at the Okazaki exhibition. Tests
through the 1980s continued in Miyazaki before transferring to a far
larger test track, 20 km (12 mi) long, in Yamanashi in 1997.
HSST started in 1974. In Tsukuba,
Japan (1985), the
HSST-03 (Linimo) became popular in spite of its 30 km/h
(19 mph) at the
Tsukuba World Exposition. In Saitama, Japan
(1988), the HSST-04-1 was revealed at the Saitama exhibition performed
in Kumagaya. Its fastest recorded speed was 300 km/h
A new high speed maglev line, the Chuo
Shinkansen is planned to become
operational in 2027, with construction starting 2017.
Vancouver, Canada and Hamburg, Germany, 1986–88
HSST-03 at Okazaki Minami Park
Main article: High Speed Surface Transport
In Vancouver, Canada, the HSST-03 by
HSST Development Corporation
Japan Airlines and Sumitomo Corporation) was exhibited at Expo 86
and ran on a 400-metre (0.25 mi) test track that provided
guests with a ride in a single car along a short section of track at
the fairgrounds. It was removed after the fair and debut at the Aoi
Expo in 1987 and now on static display at Okazaki Minami Park.
In Hamburg, Germany, the TR-07 was exhibited at the international
traffic exhibition (IVA88) in 1988.
Berlin, Germany, 1989–91
Main article: M-Bahn
In West Berlin, the
M-Bahn was built in the late 1980s. It was a
driverless maglev system with a 1.6 km (0.99 mi) track
connecting three stations. Testing with passenger traffic started in
August 1989, and regular operation started in July 1991. Although the
line largely followed a new elevated alignment, it terminated at
Gleisdreieck U-Bahn station, where it took over an unused platform for
a line that formerly ran to East Berlin. After the fall of the Berlin
Wall, plans were set in motion to reconnect this line (today's U2).
Deconstruction of the
M-Bahn line began only two months after regular
service began. It was called the Pundai project and was completed in
South Korea, 1993–present
Main article: Incheon
Airport Maglev, the world's fourth commercially
In 1993, Korea completed the development of its own maglev train,
shown off at the Taejŏn Expo '93, which was developed further into a
full-fledged maglev capable of travelling up to 110 km/h
(68 mph) in 2006. This final model was incorporated in the
Incheon Airport Maglev
Incheon Airport Maglev which opened on February 3, 2016, making Korea
the world's fourth country to operate its own self-developed maglev
after the United Kingdom's
Birmingham International Airport,
Germany's Berlin M-Bahn, and Japan's Linimo. It links Incheon
Airport to the Yongyu Station and Leisure Complex while
crossing Yeongjong island. It offers a transfer to the Seoul
Metropolitan Subway at AREX's
Incheon International Airport
Incheon International Airport Station
and is offered free of charge to anyone to ride, operating between
9 am and 6 pm every 15 minutes. Operating hours are to
be raised in the future.
The maglev system was co-developed by the Korea Institute of Machinery
and Materials (KIMM) and Hyundai Rotem. It is 6.1
kilometres (3.8 mi) long, with six stations and a 110 km/h
(68 mph) operating speed.
Two more stages are planned of 9.7 km (6.0 mi) and
37.4 km (23.2 mi). Once completed it will become a circular
SCMaglev § Technology,
Transrapid § Technology,
and Magnetic levitation
In the public imagination, "maglev" often evokes the concept of an
elevated monorail track with a linear motor.
Maglev systems may be
monorail or dual rail and not all monorail trains are maglevs.
Some railway transport systems incorporate linear motors but use
electromagnetism only for propulsion, without levitating the vehicle.
Such trains have wheels and are not maglevs.[note 3]
monorail or not, can also be constructed at grade (i.e. not elevated).
Conversely, non-maglev tracks, monorail or not, can be elevated too.
Some maglev trains do incorporate wheels and function like linear
motor-propelled wheeled vehicles at slower speeds but "take off" and
levitate at higher speeds.[note 4]
Superconducting magnet bogie
The two notable types of maglev technology are:
Electromagnetic suspension (EMS), electronically controlled
electromagnets in the train attract it to a magnetically conductive
(usually steel) track.
Electrodynamic suspension (EDS) uses superconducting electromagnets or
strong permanent magnets that create a magnetic field, which induces
currents in nearby metallic conductors when there is relative
movement, which pushes and pulls the train towards the designed
levitation position on the guide way.
Another technology, which was designed, proven mathematically,
peer-reviewed, and patented, but is, as of May 2015, unbuilt, is
magnetodynamic suspension (MDS). It uses the attractive magnetic force
of a permanent magnet array near a steel track to lift the train and
hold it in place. Other technologies such as repulsive permanent
magnets and superconducting magnets have seen some research.
Electromagnetic suspension (EMS)
Main article: Electromagnetic suspension
Electromagnetic suspension (EMS) is used to levitate the
the track, so that the train can be faster than wheeled mass transit
In electromagnetic suspension (EMS) systems, the train levitates above
a steel rail while electromagnets, attached to the train, are oriented
toward the rail from below. The system is typically arranged on a
series of C-shaped arms, with the upper portion of the arm attached to
the vehicle, and the lower inside edge containing the magnets. The
rail is situated inside the C, between the upper and lower edges.
Magnetic attraction varies inversely with the cube of distance, so
minor changes in distance between the magnets and the rail produce
greatly varying forces. These changes in force are dynamically
unstable – a slight divergence from the optimum position tends to
grow, requiring sophisticated feedback systems to maintain a constant
distance from the track, (approximately 15 mm
The major advantage to suspended maglev systems is that they work at
all speeds, unlike electrodynamic systems, which only work at a
minimum speed of about 30 km/h (19 mph). This eliminates the
need for a separate low-speed suspension system, and can simplify
track layout. On the downside, the dynamic instability demands fine
track tolerances, which can offset this advantage.
Eric Laithwaite was
concerned that to meet required tolerances, the gap between magnets
and rail would have to be increased to the point where the magnets
would be unreasonably large. In practice, this problem was
addressed through improved feedback systems, which support the
Electrodynamic suspension (EDS)
Main article: Electrodynamic suspension
The Japanese SCMaglev's EDS suspension is powered by the magnetic
fields induced either side of the vehicle by the passage of the
vehicle's superconducting magnets.
Maglev propulsion via propulsion coils
In electrodynamic suspension (EDS), both the guideway and the train
exert a magnetic field, and the train is levitated by the repulsive
and attractive force between these magnetic fields. In some
configurations, the train can be levitated only by repulsive force. In
the early stages of maglev development at the Miyazaki test track, a
purely repulsive system was used instead of the later repulsive and
attractive EDS system. The magnetic field is produced either by
superconducting magnets (as in JR–Maglev) or by an array of
permanent magnets (as in Inductrack). The repulsive and attractive
force in the track is created by an induced magnetic field in wires or
other conducting strips in the track. A major advantage of EDS maglev
systems is that they are dynamically stable – changes in distance
between the track and the magnets creates strong forces to return the
system to its original position. In addition, the attractive force
varies in the opposite manner, providing the same adjustment effects.
No active feedback control is needed.
However, at slow speeds, the current induced in these coils and the
resultant magnetic flux is not large enough to levitate the train. For
this reason, the train must have wheels or some other form of landing
gear to support the train until it reaches take-off speed. Since a
train may stop at any location, due to equipment problems for
instance, the entire track must be able to support both low- and
Another downside is that the EDS system naturally creates a field in
the track in front and to the rear of the lift magnets, which acts
against the magnets and creates magnetic drag. This is generally only
a concern at low speeds (This is one of the reasons why JR abandoned a
purely repulsive system and adopted the sidewall levitation
system.) At higher speeds other modes of drag dominate.
The drag force can be used to the electrodynamic system's advantage,
however, as it creates a varying force in the rails that can be used
as a reactionary system to drive the train, without the need for a
separate reaction plate, as in most linear motor systems. Laithwaite
led development of such "traverse-flux" systems at his Imperial
College laboratory. Alternatively, propulsion coils on the
guideway are used to exert a force on the magnets in the train and
make the train move forward. The propulsion coils that exert a force
on the train are effectively a linear motor: an alternating current
through the coils generates a continuously varying magnetic field that
moves forward along the track. The frequency of the alternating
current is synchronized to match the speed of the train. The offset
between the field exerted by magnets on the train and the applied
field creates a force moving the train forward.
The term "maglev" refers not only to the vehicles, but to the railway
system as well, specifically designed for magnetic levitation and
propulsion. All operational implementations of maglev technology make
minimal use of wheeled train technology and are not compatible with
conventional rail tracks. Because they cannot share existing
infrastructure, maglev systems must be designed as standalone systems.
The SPM maglev system is inter-operable with steel rail tracks and
would permit maglev vehicles and conventional trains to operate on the
same tracks. MAN in
Germany also designed a maglev system that worked
with conventional rails, but it was never fully developed.
Each implementation of the magnetic levitation principle for
train-type travel involves advantages and disadvantages.
EMS (Electromagnetic suspension)
Magnetic fields inside and outside the vehicle are less than EDS;
proven, commercially available technology; high speeds (500 km/h
or 310 mph); no wheels or secondary propulsion system needed.
The separation between the vehicle and the guideway must be constantly
monitored and corrected due to the unstable nature of electromagnetic
attraction; to the system's inherent instability and the required
constant corrections by outside systems may induce vibration.
Onboard magnets and large margin between rail and train enable highest
recorded speeds (603 km/h or 375 mph) and heavy load
capacity; demonstrated successful operations using high-temperature
superconductors in its onboard magnets, cooled with inexpensive liquid
Strong magnetic fields on the train would make the train unsafe for
passengers with pacemakers or magnetic data storage media such as hard
drives and credit cards, necessitating the use of magnetic shielding;
limitations on guideway inductivity limit maximum speed; vehicle must
be wheeled for travel at low speeds.
Inductrack System (Permanent Magnet Passive Suspension)
Failsafe Suspension—no power required to activate magnets; Magnetic
field is localized below the car; can generate enough force at low
speeds (around 5 km/h or 3.1 mph) for levitation; given
power failure cars stop safely; Halbach arrays of permanent magnets
may prove more cost-effective than electromagnets.
Requires either wheels or track segments that move for when the
vehicle is stopped. Under development (as of 2008); No commercial
version or full scale prototype.
Inductrack nor the Superconducting EDS are able to levitate
vehicles at a standstill, although
Inductrack provides levitation at
much lower speed; wheels are required for these systems. EMS systems
The German Transrapid, Japanese
HSST (Linimo), and Korean Rotem EMS
maglevs levitate at a standstill, with electricity extracted from
guideway using power rails for the latter two, and wirelessly for
Transrapid. If guideway power is lost on the move, the
still able to generate levitation down to 10 km/h (6.2 mph)
speed, using the power from onboard batteries. This
is not the case with the
HSST and Rotem systems.
EMS systems such as HSST/
Linimo can provide both levitation and
propulsion using an onboard linear motor. But EDS systems and some EMS
systems such as
Transrapid levitate but do not propel. Such systems
need some other technology for propulsion. A linear motor (propulsion
coils) mounted in the track is one solution. Over long distances coil
costs could be prohibitive.
Earnshaw's theorem shows that no combination of static magnets can be
in a stable equilibrium. Therefore a dynamic (time varying)
magnetic field is required to achieve stabilization. EMS systems rely
on active electronic stabilization that constantly measures the
bearing distance and adjusts the electromagnet current accordingly.
EDS systems rely on changing magnetic fields to create currents, which
can give passive stability.
Because maglev vehicles essentially fly, stabilisation of pitch, roll
and yaw is required. In addition to rotation, surge (forward and
backward motions), sway (sideways motion) or heave (up and down
motions) can be problematic.
Superconducting magnets on a train above a track made out of a
permanent magnet lock the train into its lateral position. It can move
linearly along the track, but not off the track. This is due to the
Meissner effect and flux pinning.
Some systems use Null Current systems (also sometimes called Null Flux
systems). These use a coil that is wound so that it enters two
opposing, alternating fields, so that the average flux in the loop is
zero. When the vehicle is in the straight ahead position, no current
flows, but any moves off-line create flux that generates a field that
naturally pushes/pulls it back into line.
Main article: Vactrain
Some systems (notably the
Swissmetro system) propose the use of
vactrains—maglev train technology used in evacuated (airless) tubes,
which removes air drag. This has the potential to increase speed and
efficiency greatly, as most of the energy for conventional maglev
trains is lost to aerodynamic drag.
One potential risk for passengers of trains operating in evacuated
tubes is that they could be exposed to the risk of cabin
depressurization unless tunnel safety monitoring systems can
repressurize the tube in the event of a train malfunction or accident
though since trains are likely to operate at or near the Earth's
surface, emergency restoration of ambient pressure should be
RAND Corporation has depicted a vacuum tube train
that could, in theory, cross the Atlantic or the USA in ~21
Energy for maglev trains is used to accelerate the train. Energy may
be regained when the train slows down via regenerative braking. It
also levitates and stabilises the train's movement. Most of the energy
is needed to overcome "air drag". Some energy is used for air
conditioning, heating, lighting and other miscellany.
At low speeds the percentage of power used for levitation can be
significant, consuming up to 15% more power than a subway or light
rail service. For short distances the energy used for acceleration
might be considerable.
The power used to overcome air drag increases with the cube of the
velocity and hence dominates at high speed. The energy needed per unit
distance increases by the square of the velocity and the time
decreases linearly. For example, 2.5 times as much power is needed to
travel at 400 km/h (250 mph) than 300 km/h
Aircraft take advantage of lower air pressure and lower temperatures
by cruising at altitude to reduce energy consumption but unlike trains
need to carry fuel on board. This has led to the suggestion of
conveying maglev vehicles through partially evacuated tubes or tunnels
with the possibility of supplying energy from renewable sources.
Comparison with conventional trains
Maglev transport is non-contact and electric powered. It relies less
or not at all on the wheels, bearings and axles common to wheeled rail
Maglev allows higher top speeds than conventional rail, but
experimental wheel-based high-speed trains have demonstrated similar
Maglev trains currently in operation have demonstrated
the need for minimal guideway maintenance. Vehicle maintenance is also
minimal (based on hours of operation, rather than on speed or distance
traveled). Traditional rail is subject to mechanical wear and tear
that increases exponentially[dubious – discuss] with speed, also
Maglev trains are little affected by snow, ice, severe cold,
rain or high winds. However, they have not operated in the wide range
of conditions that traditional friction-based rail systems have
Maglev vehicles accelerate and decelerate faster than
mechanical systems regardless of the slickness of the guideway or the
slope of the grade because they are non-contact systems.
Maglev trains are not compatible with conventional track, and
therefore require custom infrastructure for their entire route. By
contrast conventional high-speed trains such as the
TGV are able to
run, albeit at reduced speeds, on existing rail infrastructure, thus
reducing expenditure where new infrastructure would be particularly
expensive (such as the final approaches to city terminals), or on
extensions where traffic does not justify new infrastructure. John
Harding, former chief maglev scientist at the Federal Railroad
Administration, claimed that separate maglev infrastructure more than
pays for itself with higher levels of all-weather operational
availability and nominal maintenance costs. These claims have yet to
be proven in an intense operational setting and does not consider the
increased maglev construction costs.
Efficiency: Conventional rail is probably more efficient at lower
speeds. But due to the lack of physical contact between the track and
the vehicle, maglev trains experience no rolling resistance, leaving
only air resistance and electromagnetic drag, potentially improving
power efficiency. Some systems however such as the Central Japan
SCMaglev use rubber tires at low speeds, reducing
Weight: The electromagnets in many EMS and EDS designs require between
1 and 2 kilowatts per ton. The use of superconductor magnets can
reduce the electromagnets' energy consumption. A 50-ton Transrapid
maglev vehicle can lift an additional 20 tons, for a total of 70 tons,
which consumes 70–140 kW (94–188 hp).
Most energy use for the TRI is for propulsion and overcoming air
resistance at speeds over 100 mph (160 km/h).[citation
Weight loading: High speed rail requires more support and construction
for its concentrated wheel loading.
Maglev cars are lighter and
distribute weight more evenly.
Noise: Because the major source of noise of a maglev train comes from
displaced air rather than from wheels touching rails, maglev trains
produce less noise than a conventional train at equivalent speeds.
However, the psychoacoustic profile of the maglev may reduce this
benefit: a study concluded that maglev noise should be rated like road
traffic, while conventional trains experience a 5–10 dB "bonus", as
they are found less annoying at the same loudness level.
Braking: Braking and overhead wire wear have caused problems for the
Fastech 360 rail Shinkansen.
Maglev would eliminate these issues.
Magnet reliability: Superconducting magnets are generally used to
generate the powerful magnetic fields to levitate and propel the
trains. These magnets must be kept below their critical temperatures
(this ranges form 4.2 K to 77 K, depending on the material). New
alloys and manufacturing techniques in superconductors and cooling
systems have helped address this issue.
Control systems: No signalling systems are needed for high-speed rail,
because such systems are computer controlled. Human operators cannot
react fast enough to manage high-speed trains. High speed systems
require dedicated rights of way and are usually elevated. Two maglev
system microwave towers are in constant contact with trains. There is
no need for train whistles or horns, either.
Terrain: Maglevs are able to ascend higher grades, offering more
routing flexibility and reduced tunneling.
Comparison with aircraft
Differences between airplane and maglev travel:
Efficiency: For maglev systems the lift-to-drag ratio can exceed that
of aircraft (for example
Inductrack can approach 200:1 at high speed,
far higher than any aircraft). This can make maglev more efficient per
kilometer. However, at high cruising speeds, aerodynamic drag is much
larger than lift-induced drag. Jets take advantage of low air density
at high altitudes to significantly reduce air drag. Hence despite
their lift-to-drag ratio disadvantage, they can travel more
efficiently at high speeds than maglev trains that operate at sea
Routing: Maglevs offer competitive journey times for distances of
800 km (500 mi) or less. Additionally, maglevs can easily
serve intermediate destinations.
Availability: Maglevs are little affected by weather.
Travel time: Maglevs do not face the extended security protocols faced
by air travelers nor is time consumed for taxiing, or for queuing for
take-off and landing.
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Shanghai maglev demonstration line cost US$1.2 billion to build in
2004. This total includes capital costs such as right-of-way
clearing, extensive pile driving, on-site guideway manufacturing,
in-situ pier construction at 25 m (82 ft) intervals, a
maintenance facility and vehicle yard, several switches, two stations,
operations and control systems, power feed system, cables and
inverters, and operational training. Ridership is not a primary focus
of this demonstration line, since the Longyang Road station is on the
eastern outskirts of Shanghai. Once the line is extended to South
Train station and
Hongqiao Airport station, which may not
happen because of economic reasons, ridership was expected to cover
operation and maintenance costs and generate significant net
revenue.[according to whom?]
Shanghai extension was expected to cost approximately US$18
million per kilometre. In 2006 the German government invested $125
million in guideway cost reduction development that produced an
all-concrete modular design that is faster to build and is 30% less
costly. Other new construction techniques were also developed that put
maglev at or below price parity with new high-speed rail
The United States Federal Railroad Administration, in a 2005 report to
Congress, estimated cost per mile of between US$50 million and US$100
Maryland Transit Administration
Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) Environmental
Impact Statement estimated a pricetag at US$4.9 billion for
construction, and $53 million a year for operations of its
The proposed Chuo
Shinkansen maglev in
Japan was estimated to cost
approximately US$82 billion to build, with a route requiring long
tunnels. A Tokaido maglev route replacing the current
cost 1/10 the cost, as no new tunnel would be needed, but noise
pollution issues made this infeasible.[neutrality is
Linimo HSST, cost approximately US$100 million/km to
build. Besides offering improved operation and maintenance costs
over other transit systems, these low-speed maglevs provide ultra-high
levels of operational reliability and introduce little
noise[verification needed] and generate zero air pollution into dense
As more maglev systems are deployed, experts expected construction
costs to drop by employing new construction methods and from economies
The highest recorded maglev speed is 603 km/h (375 mph),
Japan by JR Central's L0 superconducting
Maglev on 21
April 2015, 28 km/h (17 mph) faster than the
TGV wheel-rail speed record. However, the operational and
performance differences between these two very different technologies
is far greater. The
TGV record was achieved accelerating down a
72.4 km (45.0 mi) slight decline, requiring 13 minutes. It
then took another 77.25 km (48.00 mi) for the
TGV to stop,
requiring a total distance of 149.65 km (92.99 mi) for the
test. The MLX01 record, however, was achieved on the 18.4 km
(11.4 mi) Yamanashi test track – 1/8 the distance. No
maglev or wheel-rail commercial operation has actually been attempted
at speeds over 500 km/h (310 mph).
History of maglev speed records
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90 km/h (56 mph)
164 km/h (102 mph)
60 km/h (37 mph)
250 km/h (160 mph)
230 km/h (140 mph)
401 km/h (249 mph)
by steam rocket propulsion, unmanned
308 km/h (191 mph)
by supporting rockets propulsion, made in Nissan, unmanned
110 km/h (68 mph)
504 km/h (313 mph)
(unmanned) It succeeds in operation over 500 km/h for the first time
in the world.
517 km/h (321 mph)
406 km/h (252 mph)
401 km/h (249 mph)
413 km/h (257 mph)
436 km/h (271 mph)
450 km/h (280 mph)
431 km/h (268 mph)
531 km/h (330 mph)
550 km/h (340 mph)
552 km/h (343 mph)
(manned/five-car formation). Guinness authorization.
581 km/h (361 mph)
(manned/three formation). Guinness authorization.
590 km/h (370 mph)
603 km/h (375 mph)
San Diego, California USA
General Atomics has a 120 m (390 ft) test facility in San
Diego, that is used to test Union Pacific's 8 km (5.0 mi)
freight shuttle in Los Angeles. The technology is "passive" (or
"permanent"), using permanent magnets in a
Halbach array for lift and
requiring no electromagnets for either levitation or propulsion.
General Atomics received US$90 million in research funding from
the federal government. They are also considering their technology for
high-speed passenger services.
Main article: SCMaglev
Japan has a demonstration line in
Yamanashi prefecture where test
Shinkansen reached 603 km/h
(375 mph), faster than any wheeled trains.
These trains use superconducting magnets, which allow for a larger
gap, and repulsive/attractive-type electrodynamic suspension
(EDS). In comparison
Transrapid uses conventional
electromagnets and attractive-type electromagnetic suspension
On 15 November 2014, The
Central Japan Railway Company
Central Japan Railway Company ran eight days
of testing for the experimental maglev
Shinkansen train on its test
track in Yamanashi Prefecture. One hundred passengers covered a
42.8 km (26.6 mi) route between the cities of Uenohara and
Fuefuki, reaching speeds of up to 500 km/h (310 mph).
FTA's UMTD program
In the US, the
Federal Transit Administration
Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Urban Maglev
Technology Demonstration program funded the design of several
low-speed urban maglev demonstration projects. It assessed
Maryland Department of Transportation
Maryland Department of Transportation and maglev technology for
the Colorado Department of Transportation. The FTA also funded work by
General Atomics at
California University of Pennsylvania
California University of Pennsylvania to evaluate
the MagneMotion M3 and of the Maglev2000 of Florida superconducting
EDS system. Other US urban maglev demonstration projects of note are
the LEVX in Washington State and the Massachusetts-based Magplane.
Southwest Jiaotong University, China
On 31 December 2000, the first crewed high-temperature superconducting
maglev was tested successfully at Southwest Jiaotong University,
Chengdu, China. This system is based on the principle that bulk
high-temperature superconductors can be levitated stably above or
below a permanent magnet. The load was over 530 kg
(1,170 lb) and the levitation gap over 20 mm (0.79 in).
The system uses liquid nitrogen to cool the
Max Bögl, a german construction company has built a testtrack in
Sengenthal, Bavaria, Germany. In appearance it´s more like the German
M-Bahn than the
Transrapid system. The vehicle tested on the track
is patented in the US by Max Bögl.
A maglev train coming out of the
Pudong International Airport
Maglev Train, also known as the Transrapid, is the
fastest commercial train currently in operation and has a top speed of
430 km/h (270 mph). The line was designed to connect
Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the outskirts of central
Pudong, Shanghai. It covers a distance of 30.5 km (19.0 mi)
in 8 minutes. The
Shanghai system was labeled a white elephant by
In January 2001, the Chinese signed an agreement with
build an EMS high-speed maglev line to link
Airport with Longyang Road
Metro station on the eastern edge of
Shanghai Maglev Train
Shanghai Maglev Train demonstration line, or Initial
Operating Segment (IOS), has been in commercial operations since April
2004 and now operates 115 daily trips (up from 110 in 2010) that
traverse the 30 km (19 mi) between the two stations in 7
minutes, achieving a top speed of 431 km/h (268 mph) and
averaging 266 km/h (165 mph). On a 12 November 2003
system commissioning test run, it achieved 501 km/h
(311 mph), its designed top cruising speed. The
is faster than
Birmingham technology and comes with on-time – to the
second – reliability greater than 99.97%.
Plans to extend the line to
Shanghai South Railway Station and
Hongqiao Airport on the western edge of
Shanghai are on hold. After
Shanghai–Hangzhou Passenger Railway
Shanghai–Hangzhou Passenger Railway became operational in late
2010, the maglev extension became somewhat redundant and may be
Linimo (Tobu Kyuryo Line, Japan)
Linimo train approaching Banpaku Kinen Koen, towards Fujigaoka Station
in March 2005
Main article: Linimo
The commercial automated "Urban Maglev" system commenced operation in
March 2005 in Aichi, Japan. The Tobu Kyuryo Line, otherwise known as
Linimo line, covers 9 km (5.6 mi). It has a minimum
operating radius of 75 m (246 ft) and a maximum gradient of
6%. The linear-motor magnetically levitated train has a top speed of
100 km/h (62 mph). More than 10 million passengers used this
"urban maglev" line in its first three months of operation. At
100 km/h (62 mph), it is sufficiently fast for frequent
stops, has little or no noise impact on surrounding communities, can
navigate short radius rights of way, and operates during inclement
weather. The trains were designed by the Chubu
Corporation, which also operates a test track in Nagoya.
Maglev train departing
Incheon International Airport
Incheon International Airport Station.
Main article: Incheon
Incheon Airport Maglev
Incheon Airport Maglev began commercial operation on February 3,
2016. It was developed and built domestically. Compared to Linimo,
it has a more futuristic design thanks to it being lighter with
construction costs cut to half. It connects Incheon International
Airport with Yongyu, cutting journey time.
Daejeon Expo Maglev
The first maglev test trials using electromagnetic suspension opened
to public was HML-03, made by Hyundai Heavy Industries for the Daejeon
Expo in 1993, after five years of research and manufacturing two
prototypes, HML-01 and HML-02. Government research on
urban maglev using electromagnetic suspension began in 1994. The
first operating urban maglev was UTM-02 in Daejeon beginning on 21
April 2008 after 14 years of development and one prototype; UTM-01.
The train runs on a 1 km (0.62 mi) track between Expo Park
and National Science Museum. Meanwhile UTM-02 conducted the
world's first ever maglev simulation. However UTM-02 is still
the second prototype of a final model. The final UTM model of Rotem's
urban maglev, UTM-03, was scheduled to debut at the end of 2014 in
Incheon's Yeongjong island where
Incheon International Airport
Incheon International Airport is
Main article: Changsha Maglev
Hunan provincial government launched the construction of a maglev
Changsha Huanghua International Airport
Changsha Huanghua International Airport and Changsha
South Railway Station. Construction started in May 2014 and was
completed by the end of 2015. Trial runs began on 26 December
2015 and trial operations started on 6 May 2016.
Beijing S1 Line
Main article: S1 Line, Beijing Subway
The Beijing municipal government has built China's second low-speed
maglev line, S1 Line, Beijing Subway, using technology developed by
Defense Technology University. It is opened on December 30, 2017. The
top speed will be 105 km/h (65 mph).
Maglevs under construction
AMT test track – Powder Springs, Georgia
A second prototype system in Powder Springs, Georgia, USA, was built
Maglev Technology, Inc. The test track is 610 m
(2,000 ft) long with a 168.6 m (553 ft) curve. Vehicles
are operated up to 60 km/h (37 mph), below the proposed
operational maximum of 97 km/h (60 mph). A June 2013 review
of the technology called for an extensive testing program to be
carried out to ensure the system complies with various regulatory
requirements including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
People Mover Standard. The review noted that the test track is too
short to assess the vehicles' dynamics at the maximum proposed
Nagoya – Osaka
Main article: Chūō Shinkansen
Shinkansen route (bold yellow and red line) and existing
Shinkansen route (thin blue line)
Construction of Chuo
Shinkansen began in 2014. It was expected to
begin operations by 2027. The plan for the Chuo
train system was finalized based on the Law for Construction of
Countrywide Shinkansen. The Linear Chuo
Shinkansen Project aimed to
operate the Superconductive Magnetically Levitated Train to connect
Osaka by way of Nagoya, the capital city of Aichi, in
approximately one hour at a speed of 500 km/h
(310 mph). The full track between Tokyo and
Osaka was to be
completed in 2045.
L0 Series train type undergoing testing by the Central
Company (JR Central) for eventual use on the Chūō
set a world speed record of 603 km/h (375 mph) on 21 April
2015. The trains are planned to run at a maximum speed of
505 km/h (314 mph), offering journey times of 40
minutes between Tokyo (Shinagawa Station) and Nagoya, and 1 hour 7
minutes between Tokyo and Osaka.
Tel Aviv (Israel)
Skytran announced it would build an elevated network of sky cars in
Tel Aviv, Israel. The technology was developed by
NASA with the
support of Israel Aerospace Industries. The system was meant to
be suspended from an elevated track. The vehicles would travel at
70 km/h (43 mph) although the commercial rollout was
expected to offer much faster vehicles. A trial of the system was to
be built with a test track on the campus of Israel Aerospace
Industries. Once successful, a full commercial version of SkyTran was
expected to be rolled out first in Tel Aviv. The trial was
scheduled to be up and running by the end of 2015. The
company stated that speeds of up to 240 km/h (150 mph) are
Proposed maglev systems
Main article: List of maglev train proposals
Many maglev systems have been proposed in North America, Asia and
Europe. Many are in the early planning stages or were explicitly
A maglev route was proposed between Sydney and Wollongong. The
proposal came to prominence in the mid-1990s. The Sydney–Wollongong
commuter corridor is the largest in Australia, with upwards of 20,000
people commuting each day. Current trains use the Illawarra line,
between the cliff face of the
Illawarra escarpment and the Pacific
Ocean, with travel times about 2 hours. The proposal would cut travel
times to 20 minutes.
The proposed Melbourne maglev connecting the city of
Metropolitan Melbourne's outer suburban growth corridors, Tullamarine
and Avalon domestic in and international terminals in under 20 min and
on to Frankston, Victoria, in under 30 min.
In late 2008, a proposal was put forward to the Government of Victoria
to build a privately funded and operated maglev line to service the
Greater Melbourne metropolitan area in response to the Eddington
Transport Report that did not investigate above-ground transport
options. The maglev would service a population of over 4
million and the proposal was costed at A$8 billion.
However despite road congestion and Australia's highest roadspace per
capita, the government dismissed the proposal in
favour of road expansion including an A$8.5 billion road tunnel, $6
billion extension of the Eastlink to the
Western Ring Road
Western Ring Road and a $700
million Frankston Bypass.
A first proposal was formalized in April 2008, in Brescia, by
journalist Andrew Spannaus who recommended a high speed connection
between Malpensa airport to the cities of Milan, Bergamo and
In March 2011 Nicola Oliva proposed a maglev connection between Pisa
airport and the cities of Prato and
Florence (Santa Maria Novella
train station and
Florence Airport). The travelling time
would be reduced from the typical 1 hour 15 minutes to around 20
minutes. The second part of the line would be a connection to
Livorno, to integrate maritime, aerial and terrestrial transport
Main article: UK Ultraspeed
London – Glasgow: A line was proposed in the United Kingdom
from London to
Glasgow with several route options through the
Midlands, Northwest and Northeast of England. It was reported to be
under favourable consideration by the government. The approach
was rejected in the Government White Paper Delivering a Sustainable
Railway published on 24 July 2007. Another high-speed link was
Glasgow and Edinburgh but the technology remained
Union Pacific freight conveyor: Plans are under way by American rail
Union Pacific to build a 7.9 km (4.9 mi)
container shuttle between the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,
with UP's intermodal container transfer facility. The system would be
based on "passive" technology, especially well suited to freight
transfer as no power is needed on board. The vehicle is a chassis that
glides to its destination. The system is being designed by General
California-Nevada Interstate Maglev: High-speed maglev lines between
major cities of southern California and Las Vegas are under study via
California-Nevada Interstate Maglev Project. This plan was
originally proposed as part of an I-5 or I-15 expansion plan, but the
federal government ruled that it must be separated from interstate
public work projects.
After the decision, private groups from Nevada proposed a line running
from Las Vegas to Los Angeles with stops in Primm, Nevada; Baker,
California; and other points throughout San Bernardino County into Los
Angeles. Politicians expressed concern that a high-speed rail line out
of state would carry spending out of state along with travelers.
Baltimore – Washington D.C. Maglev: A 64 km (40 mi)
project has been proposed linking Camden Yards in Baltimore and
Baltimore-Washington International (BWI)
Airport to Union Station in
The Pennsylvania Project: The Pennsylvania High-Speed
corridor extends from the
Pittsburgh International Airport
Pittsburgh International Airport to
Greensburg, with intermediate stops in
Downtown Pittsburgh and
Monroeville. This initial project was claimed to serve approximately
2.4 million people in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. The Baltimore
proposal competed with the Pittsburgh proposal for a US$90 million
San Diego-Imperial County airport: In 2006 San Diego commissioned a
study for a maglev line to a proposed airport located in Imperial
SANDAG claimed that the concept would be an "airports [sic]
without terminals", allowing passengers to check in at a terminal in
San Diego ("satellite terminals"), take the train to the airport and
directly board the airplane. In addition, the train would have the
potential to carry freight. Further studies were requested although no
funding was agreed.
Orlando International Airport
Orlando International Airport to Orange County Convention Center: In
December 2012 the Florida Department of Transportation gave
conditional approval to a proposal by American
Maglev to build a
privately run 14.9-mile (24.0 km), 5-station line from Orlando
Airport to Orange County Convention Center. The
Department requested a technical assessment and said there would be a
request for proposals issued to reveal any competing plans. The route
requires the use of a public right of way. If the first phase
Maglev would propose two further phases (of 4.9 and
19.4 mi (7.9 and 31.2 km)) to carry the line to Walt Disney
San Juan – Caguas: A 16.7 m (55 ft) maglev project was
proposed linking Tren Urbano's Cupey Station in San Juan with two
proposed stations in the city of Caguas, south of San Juan. The maglev
line would run along Highway PR-52, connecting both cities. According
Maglev project cost would be approximately US$380
On 25 September 2007,
Bavaria announced a high-speed maglev-rail
Munich to its airport. The Bavarian government signed
Deutsche Bahn and
ThyssenKrupp for the €1.85 billion project.
On 27 March 2008, the German Transport minister announced the project
had been cancelled due to rising costs associated with constructing
the track. A new estimate put the project between €3.2–3.4
SwissRapide: The SwissRapide AG together with the SwissRapide
Consortium was planning and developing the first maglev monorail
system for intercity traffic between the country's major cities.
SwissRapide was to be financed by private investors. In the long-term,
the SwissRapide Express was to connect the major cities north of the
Geneva and St. Gallen, including
Lucerne and Basel. The
first projects were
Bern – Zurich,
Geneva as well as
Zurich – Winterthur. The first line (
Geneva or Zurich
– Winterthur) could go into service as early as 2020.
Swissmetro: An earlier project,
Swissmetro AG envisioned a partially
evacuated underground maglev (a vactrain). As with SwissRapide,
Swissmetro envisioned connecting the major cities in Switzerland with
one another. In 2011,
Swissmetro AG was dissolved and the IPRs from
the organisation were passed onto the
EPFL in Lausanne.
Shanghai – Hangzhou
China planned to extend the existing
initially by around 35 km (22 mi) to
Airport and then 200 km (120 mi) to the city of Hangzhou
Maglev Train). If built, this would be the first
inter-city maglev rail line in commercial service.
The project was controversial and repeatedly delayed. In May 2007 the
project was suspended by officials, reportedly due to public concerns
about radiation from the system. In January and February 2008
hundreds of residents demonstrated in downtown
Shanghai that the line
route came too close to their homes, citing concerns about sickness
due to exposure to the strong magnetic field, noise, pollution and
devaluation of property near to the lines. Final approval to
build the line was granted on 18 August 2008. Originally scheduled to
be ready by Expo 2010, plans called for completion by 2014. The
Shanghai municipal government considered multiple options, including
undergrounding the line to allay public fears. This same report stated
that the final decision had to be approved by the National Development
and Reform Commission.
In 2007 the
Shanghai municipal government was considering build a
Nanhui district to produce low-speed maglev trains for
Shanghai – Beijing
A proposed line would have connected
Shanghai to Beijing, over a
distance of 1,300 km (800 mi), at an estimated cost of
£15.5bn. No projects had been revealed as of 2014.
In October 2017 a low-speed maglev line opened in Beijing. The S1 Line
operates at speeds up to 110 km/h and serves as a suburban commuter
Mumbai – Delhi
A project was presented to Indian railway minister (Mamata Banerjee)
by an American company to connect
Mumbai and Delhi. Then Prime
Manmohan Singh said that if the line project was successful
the Indian government would build lines between other cities and also
Mumbai Central and Chhatrapati Shivaji International
Mumbai – Nagpur
The State of Maharashtra approved a feasibility study for a maglev
Mumbai and Nagpur, some 1,000 km (620 mi)
Bangalore – Mysore
A detailed report was to be prepared and submitted by December 2012
for a line to connect
Bangalore at a cost $26
million per kilometre, reaching speeds of 350 km/h.
A Consortium led by UEM Group Bhd and ARA Group, proposed Maglev
technology to link Malaysian cities to Singapore. The idea was first
mooted by YTL Group. Its technology partner then was said to be
Siemens. High costs sank the proposal. The concept of a high-speed
rail link from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore resurfaced. It was cited as a
proposed "high impact" project in the Economic Transformation
Programme (ETP) that was unveiled in 2010. Approval has been
given for the
Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail
Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail project, but not
using maglev technology.
In May 2009,
Iran and a German company signed an agreement to use
maglev to link
Tehran and Mashhad. The agreement was signed at the
Mashhad International Fair site between Iranian Ministry of Roads and
Transportation and the German company. The 900 km (560 mi)
line possibly could reduce travel time between
about 2.5 hours. Munich-based Schlegel Consulting Engineers said
they had signed the contract with the Iranian ministry of transport
and the governor of Mashad. "We have been mandated to lead a German
consortium in this project," a spokesman said. "We are in a
preparatory phase." The project could be worth between 10 billion
and 12 billion euros, the Schlegel spokesman said.
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Low speed maglev (urban maglev) is proposed for YangMingShan MRT Line
for Taipei, a circular line connecting Taipei City to New Taipei City,
and almost all other Taipei transport routes, but especially the
access starved northern suburbs of Tien Mou and YangMingShan. From
these suburbs to the city, transit times would be reduced by 70% or
more compared to peak hours, and between Tien Mou and YangMingShan,
from approx 20 minutes, to 3 minutes. Key to the line is YangMingShan
Station, at ‘Taipei level’ in the mountain, 200M below
YangMingShan (YangMing Mountain) Village, with 40 second high speed
elevators to the Village.
Linimo or a similar system would be preferred, as being the core of
Taipei's public transport system, it should run 24 hours a day. Also,
in certain areas it would run within metres of apartments, so the near
silent operation, and minimal maintenance requirements of maglev would
be major advantages.
An extension of the line could run to Chiang Kai Shek Airport, and
possibly on down the island, passing through major population centres,
which the High Speed Rail must avoid. The minimal vibration of maglev
would also be suitable to provide access Hsinchu Science Park, where
sensitive silicon foundries are located. In the other direction,
connection to the Tansui Line and to High Speed ferries at Tansui
would provide overnight travel to
Shanghai and Nagasaki, and to Busan
or Mokpo in South Korea, thus interconnecting the public transport
systems of four countries, with great savings in fossil fuel
consumption compared to flight.
YangMingShan MRT Line won the 'Engineering Excellence' Award, at the
2013 World Metro Summit in Shanghai.
Main article: Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link
The Express Rail Link, previously known as the Regional Express, which
will connect Kowloon with the territory's border with China, explored
different technologies and designs in its planning stage, between
Maglev and conventional highspeed railway, and if the latter was
chosen, between a dedicated new route and sharing the tracks with the
existing West Rail. Finally conventional highspeed with dedicated new
route was chosen. It is expected to be operational in 2018.
Two incidents involved fires. A Japanese test train in Miyazaki,
MLU002, was completely consumed in a fire in 1991.
On 11 August 2006, a fire broke out on the commercial Shanghai
Transrapid shortly after arriving at the Longyang terminal. People
were evacuated without incident before the vehicle was moved about 1
kilometre to keep smoke from filling the station. NAMTI officials
toured the SMT maintenance facility in November 2010 and learned that
the cause of the fire was "thermal runaway" in a battery tray. As a
result, SMT secured a new battery vendor, installed new temperature
sensors and insulators and redesigned the trays.
On 22 September 2006, a
Transrapid train collided with a maintenance
vehicle on a test/publicity run in
Lathen (Lower Saxony /
north-western Germany). Twenty-three people were killed and
ten were injured; these were the first maglev crash fatalities. The
accident was caused by human error. Charges were brought against three
Transrapid employees after a year-long investigation.
Safety becomes an ever greater concern with high speed public
transport due to the potentially large impact force and number of
casualties. In the case of maglev trains, an incident could result
from human error, including loss of power, or factors outside human
control, such as ground movement, for example, caused by an
Bombardier Advanced Rapid Transit
Bombardier Advanced Rapid Transit – Transit systems using Linear
Ground effect train
Land speed record for rail vehicles
Launch loop would be a maglev system for launching to orbit or escape
Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line
Oleg Tozoni worked on a published non-linearly stabilised maglev
StarTram – a maglev launch system
^ Zehden describes a geometry in which the linear motor is used below
a steel beam, giving partial levitation of the vehicle. These patents
were later cited by Electromagnetic apparatus generating a gliding
magnetic field by Jean Candelas (U.S. Patent 4,131,813), Air cushion
supported, omnidirectionally steerable, traveling magnetic field
propulsion device by Harry A. Mackie (U.S. Patent 3,357,511) and
Two-sided linear induction motor especially for suspended vehicles by
Schwarzler et al. (U.S. Patent 3,820,472)
^ These German patents would be GR643316 (1937), GR44302 (1938),
^ This is the case with the Moscow
Monorail – currently the only
non-maglev linear motor-propelled monorail train in active service.
^ This is typically the case with electrodynamic suspension maglev
Aerodynamic factors may also play a role in the levitation of
such trains. Where that is the case, it might be argued that they are
technically hybrid systems insofar as their levitation isn't purely
magnetic – but their linear motors are electromagnetic systems, and
these achieve the higher speeds at which the aerodynamic factors come
^ K.C.Coates. "
High-speed rail in the United Kingdom" (PDF).
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more power for air conditioning
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^ "Obituary for the late Professor Eric Laithwaite", Daily Telegraph,
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^ U.S. Patent 859,018, 2 July 1907.
^ U.S. Patent 3,858,521; 26 March 1973.
^ Muller, Christopher (23 January 1997). "Magnetic Levitation for
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^ US3,470,828 Granted 17 October 1969.
^ "The magnetic attraction of trains". BBC News. 9 November
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^ "New plan aims to bring the
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Airport maglev demonstration line". Retrieved
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^ Tsuchiya, M. Ohsaki, H. (September 2000). "Characteristics of
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