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Ever ridden on a train before? Or an airplane? What if someone could combine the two, making a flying train? Well someone has, and even better, this new flying train doesnt need engines, is environmentally friendly, and would require less maintenance than your car. Oh yes, and its way quieter than a normal train. This new invention is called a Maglev train, which stands for Magnetically Levitated train. A Maglev uses magnetism to hover above the ground, which allows it to travel way faster than a regular. Definition- Magnetic levitation (maglev) is a relatively new transportation technology in which noncontacting vehicles travel safely at speeds of 250 to 300 miles-per-hour or higher while suspended, guided, and propelled above a guideway by magnetic fields. The guideway is the physical structure along which maglev vehicles are levitated. Various guideway configurations, e.g., T-shaped, U-shaped, Y-shaped, and box-beam, made of steel, concrete, or aluminum, have been proposed. Figure 1 depicts the three primary functions basic to maglev technology: (1) levitation or suspension; (2) propulsion; and (3) guidance. In most current designs, magnetic forces are used to perform all three functions, although a nonmagnetic source of propulsion could be used. The two principal means of levitation are illustrated in Figures 2 and 3. Electromagnetic suspension (EMS) is an attractive force levitation system whereby electromagnets on the vehicle interact with and are attracted to ferromagnetic rails on the guideway. EMS was made practical by advances in electronic control systems that maintain the air gap between vehicle and guideway, thus preventing contact. Variations in payload weight, dynamic loads, and guideway irregularities are compensated for by changing the magnetic field in response to vehicle/ guideway air gap measurements. Electrodynamics suspension (EDS) employs magnets on the moving vehicle to induce currents in the guideway. Resulting repulsive force produces inherently stable vehicle support and guidance because the magnetic repulsion increases as the vehicle/guideway gap decreases. However, the vehicle must be equipped with wheels or other forms of support for "takeoff" and "landing" because the EDS will not levitate at speeds below approximately 25 mph. EDS has progressed with advances in cryogenics and superconducting magnet technology.

The concept of magnetically levitated trains was first identified at the turn of the century by two Americans, Robert Goddard and Emile Bachelet. By the 1930s, Germany's Hermann Kemper was developing a concept and demonstrating the use of magnetic fields to combine the advantages of trains and airplanes. In 1968, Americans James R. Powell and Gordon T. Danby were granted a patent on their design for a magnetic levitation train. Over the past two decades, research and development programs in maglev technology have been conducted by several countries including: Great Britain, Canada, Germany, and Japan. Germany and Japan have invested over $1 billion each to develop and demonstrate maglev technology for HSGT. The EDS concept under development in Japan uses a superconducting magnet system. A decision will be made in 1997 whether to use maglev for the new Chuo line between Tokyo and Osaka.

Basic principle: Electromagnetism is magnetism produced by an electric current. The basic ideas behind electromagnets are that you can create a magnetic field by running an electric current through a conductor (like a wire). When it is twisted into a coil and its ends are connected to a voltage source the magnetic field through the center of the coil will have north and south poles, same as a permanent magnet. The Levitation System of the Transrapid uses the attraction forces of electromagnets. With electromagnets, the magnetic fields can be turned on or off, and the current flowing through the coiled conductor can even be reversed, switching the electromagnetic field's polarity. Motor Principle: When a conductor carrying a current is in an external magnetic field perpendicular to the conductor, a force perpendicular to the conductor and the external magnetic field will be exerted on the conductor. The direction of the force on the conductor can be described by the right-hand rule. 1. With the right hand, the thumb points in the direction of the current. 2. The fingers point in the direction of the external magnetic field. 3. The resulting force exerted on the conductor will go outwards of the palm. Examples of electric devices that operate on the motor principle are analog electric meters such as voltmeters, ammeters and galvanometers. An electric motor consists of a permanent magnet (stator) which produces an external magnetic field and a conductor coiled to form an electromagnet as the armature (rotor) which is free to rotate within the external magnetic field. The armature is connected to a voltage source through brushes and a commutator, while the rotor in a Transrapid Maglev is directly wired to the train because the rotor doesn't move in relation to the train. The speed of a motor's rotation depends on the strength of the external magnetic field from the permanent magnet and the armature's electromagnetic field strength, which is determined by the number of coils, the amount of current flowing through it and its magnetic permeability and the load to the shaft. Note, when the conductor of a motor is not supplied with a current and when the shaft is moved by an external force, a current will flow out from the conductor. This is the effect of an electric generator. It's because a current is induced when the rotor is moved inside the magnetic field of the stator. A Maglev uses the same principle for charging up its onboard batteries. That is, the cable windings moving in a magnetic field induce a current for the onboard batteries.

The Propulsion System of the Transrapid operates on the motor principle similar to that of an electric motor. Basically, a motor is divided into two halves, one half (the electromagnetic stator) in the guideway and the other half (the rotor) in the train's undercarriage. Instead of a motor using an electromagnetic rotating field, the Transrapid system uses an electromagnetic traveling field, which propels the train forward or brakes the train to a stop when the direction of the electromagnetic field is reversed. Principle of Maglev Space Propulsion: A Maglev launch system would use magnetic fields to levitate and accelerate a vehicle along a track at speeds up to 600 mph. The vehicle would shift to rocket engines for launch to orbit. Maglev systems could dramatically reduce the cost of getting to space because theyre powered by electricity, an inexpensive energy source that stays on the ground unlike rocket fuel that adds weight and cost to a launch vehicle.

Maglev is constantly kept afloat by electromagnets on the track (also called a guideway) and on the train's underside. As we know, the opposing polarities of magnets are attracted to each other and the same polarities oppose each other. So a Maglev would be levitated with the tracks and the train's magnets facing each other on the opposing sides. There are many different Maglev systems being developed. The most successful one so far is called the Transrapid system and it is currently being used by the Maglev in Shanghai. This system uses electromagnetic suspension technology (EMS) and it works on the concept that electromagnetic forces attract to a metal or another electromagnet when they face each other with the opposing polarities. Another system under development uses electrodynamics suspension technology (EDS) and it works on the concept of repulsive magnetic forces when electromagnets face each other with the same polarities. The EDS system uses superconductors cooled with liquid helium, and it's still in the experimental stage with many technical difficulties to be overcome. For starters, the train cannot be levitated at speeds less than 100 km/h and the magnetic field intensity inside the train is about 1000 times higher than that of the Transrapid System. Also, the super-cooled conductors are really expensive and the unregulated levitation causes rough rides on the train. So far, the Transrapid system is the only one commercially available. It's a more comfortable and safer system in terms of regulated levitation and the magnetic field intensity inside the passenger compartment. Its intensity is comparable to the earth's magnetic field and far below the field intensity of a hair dryer, an electric drill or a sewing machine. In this system, the train and the track each have a set of electromagnets for levitation. The track has another set to keep the train positioned properly and to guide the train along. These guidance electromagnets keep the train from straying off track. Finally, another set of electromagnets built into the track and the train generate a electromagnetic travelling field that pushes the vehicle forward. There are two major systems in operation in a Maglev: The Levitation System and The Propulsion System. 1) The Levitation System Support electromagnets built into the undercarriage and along the entire length of the train pull it up to the guideway electromagnets, which are called ferromagnetic reaction rails. The guidance magnets placed on each side of the train keep it centered along the track and guide the train along. All the electromagnets are controlled electronically in a precise manner. It ensures the train is always levitated at a distance of 8 to 10 mm from the guideway even when it isn't moving. This levitation system is powered by onboard batteries, which are charged up by the linear generator when the train travels. The generator consists of additional cable windings integrated in the levitation electromagnets. The

induced current of the generator during driving uses the propulsion magnetic field's harmonic waves, which are due to the side effects of the grooves of the long stator so the charging up process does not consume the useful propulsion magnetic field. The train can rely on this battery power for up to one hour without an external power source. The levitation system is independent from the propulsion system. 2) The Propulsion System Long-stator" propulsion using an electrically powered linear motor winding in the guideway appears to be the favored option for high-speed maglev systems. It is also the most expensive because of higher guideway construction costs. "Short-stator" propulsion uses a linear induction motor (LIM) winding onboard and a passive guideway. While short-stator propulsion reduces guideway costs, the LIM is heavy and reduces vehicle payload capacity, resulting in higher operating costs and lower revenue potential compared to the long-stator propulsion. A third alternative is a nonmagnetic energy source (gas turbine or turboprop) but this, too, results in a heavy vehicle and reduced operating efficiency. For propulsion and braking of a Maglev, a long electromagnetic stator is installed underneath both sides of the guideway facing the train's support electromagnets, which resemble a motor's rotor. The construction of this system looks like the stator of a rotating motor was cut open and stretched along the guideway undersides and the rotor part is built into the undercarriage of a train. The three-phase winded stator generates an electromagnetic travelling field and moves the train when it is supplied with an alternating current. The electromagnetic field from the support electromagnets (rotor) pulls it along. The magnetic field direction and speed of the stator and the rotor are synchronized. The Maglev speed can vary from standstill to full operating speed by simply adjusting the frequency of the alternating current. To bring the train to a full stop, the direction of the travelling field is reversed. Even during braking, there isn't any mechanical contact between the stator and the rotor. Instead of consuming energy, the Transrapid system acts as a generator, converting the breaking energy into electricity, which can be used elsewhere.


What are the attributes of maglev that commend its consideration by transportation planners? Faster trips - high peak speed and high acceleration/braking enable average speeds three to four times the national highway speed limit of 30 m/s and lower door-to-door trip time than high-speed rail or air (for trips under about 300 miles or 500 km). Still higher speeds are feasible. Maglev takes up where high-speed rail leaves off, permitting speeds of 112 to 134 m/s and higher. Maglev has high reliability and less susceptible to congestion and weather conditions than air or highway travel. Variance from schedule can average less than one minute based on foreign high-speed rail experience. This means intra and inter modal connecting times can be reduced to a few minutes (rather than the half-hour or more required with airlines and Amtrak at present) and that appointments can safely be scheduled without having to consider delays. Maglev gives petroleum independence - with respect to air and auto because of Maglev being electrically powered. Petroleum is unnecessary for the production of electricity. In 1990, less than 5 percent of the Nation's electricity was derived from petroleum whereas the petroleum used by both the air and automobile modes comes primarily from foreign sources. Maglev is less polluting - with respect to air and auto, again because of being electrically powered. Emissions can be controlled more effectively at the source of electric power generation than at the many points of consumption, such as with air and automobile usage. Maglev has a higher capacity than air travel with at least 12,000 passengers per hour in each direction. There is the potential for even higher capacities at 3 to 4 minute headways. Maglev provides sufficient capacity to accommodate traffic growth well into the twentyfirst century and to provide an alternative to air and auto in the event of an oil availability crisis. Maglev has high safety - both perceived and actual, based on foreign experience. Maglev has convenience - due to high frequency of service and the ability to serve central business districts, airports, and other major metropolitan area nodes. Maglev has improved comfort - with respect to air due to greater roominess, which allows separate dining and conference areas with freedom to move around. The absence of air turbulence ensures a consistently smooth ride


Provided maglev can proved to be commercially viable it should be a success. Most people have their eyes on Germany, where the first maglev will run in commercial service. This may decide whether or not maglev will be used across the world. Maglev may become the preferred path for new high speed railway lines although it would depend whether or not services were needed to stretch beyond a high speed line. For example, if you have 300km conventional track between two cities cleared for over 200km/h but there was 60km long section only for 80km/h then it would make sense to build a new high speed (300km/h) line for 60km distance if a maglev train to be used a track 300km long would have to be built. However, if there is no existing rail network then it makes sense to build a maglev line. Whether or not new railway lines stopped being built, in favor of maglev line, one thing is certain, there is 31932km track in UK, 34449km in France and 40726km in Germany; no one is going to convert all of this into maglev track, conventional trains are here to stay for a long time. Therefore, the future of maglev holds an undisputed demand in the global level.


Maglev trains have a remarkably safety record. By the end of 1989, the HSST series of German-type maglev trains in Japan and Vancouver Canada had carried 2.67 million paying passengers at speed up to 191 miles per hour with a reliability factor of 99.96%, and no accidents. No other form of transportation has come close to that record. Several types of maglev trains have traveled over 300mph, also with no accidents. A Settle Times headlines read: Forty two vehicle pile up on I-5. Chain-reaction crash injures 24, closes rain-slick freeway for 4 hours. Two in critical condition That type of thing happens frequently on our highways; but it could never happen on dual mode guideways. A major factor in the above chain accidents and others like it is following too closely for the conditions and the speed being traveled. The recommended two heading spacing (headway) between cars (three or four seconds recommended at the higher speeds) is seldom being observed. The more it is violated, the higher the accident rates, but the more it is followed the lower the capacity of highways. On the driverless 200mph guideways the synchronized cars will have minimum timespacing of the hundredth of a second at one foot distance between cars. This very close spacing will make the system even safer. It is impossible for things practically touching each other to collide very hard. A knockout punch starts way back, not at the opponents jaw.

Chronological history of magnetic levitation

1750 - The first beginnings of magnetic levitation can be traced back to John Mitchell there he noticed the repulsion of two magnets when the same pole of each was put together. Early 1900s - Emile Bachelet in France and Frank Goddard in the United States discussed the possibility of using magnetically levitated vehicles for high speed transport. However, they did not propose a practical way to achieve this goal. 1922 - Hermann Kemper in Germany pioneered attractive-mode (EMS) Maglev and received a patent for magnetic levitation of trains in 1934. 1962 - Research of linear motor propulsion and non-contact run started. 1966 - In the USA, James Powell and Gordon Danby propose the first practical system for magnetically levitated transport, using superconducting magnets located on moving vehicles to induce currents in normal aluminum loops on a guideway. The moving vehicles are automatically levitated and stabilized, both vertically and laterally, as they move along the guideway 1969 - Groups from Stanford, Atomics International and Sandia developed a continuoussheet guideway (CSG) concept. 1970 - Study of electrodynamics levitation systems using superconducting magnets started formally. 1975 - LSM-propulsion experimental superconducting magnet test vehicle (ML100A) succeeded in perfect non-contact run. 2003 November, longest traveled distance 2,876 km in a day was attained. December, the MLX01 arranged in a three-car train set attained 581 km/h (manned). 2004 - August, the number of passengers for Maglev trial ride exceeded 80,000 persons. October, the cumulative traveled distance exceeded 400,000 km. November, a test of two trains passing each other at a maximum relative speed of 1,026 km/h. 2008 - Elevators controlled by magnetic levitation are set to debut.

Existing maglev systems testing tracks

San Diego, USA General Atomics has a 120-meter test facility in San Diego, which is being used as the basis of Union Pacific's 8 km freight shuttle in Los Angeles. Emsland, Germany test facility: Emsland test facility Transrapid, a German maglev company, has a test track in Emsland with a total length of 31.5 km. The single track line runs between Drpen and Lathen with turning loops at each end. The trains regularly run at up to 420 km/h. JR-Maglev, Japan: JR-Maglev Japan has a demonstration line in Yamanashi prefecture where test trains JR-Maglev MLX01 have reached 581 km/h, slightly faster than any wheeled trains (the current TGV speed record is 574.8 kilometers per hour (357.2 mph)). These trains use superconducting magnets which allow for a larger gap, and repulsive-type electrodynamics suspension (EDS). FTA's UMTD program: In the US, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Urban Maglev Technology Demonstration program has funded the design of several low-speed urban maglev demonstration projects Southwest Jiaotong University, China. On 31 December 2000, the first crewed high-temperature superconducting maglev was tested successfully at Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, China. The system uses liquid nitrogen, which is very cheap, to cool the superconductor. Operational systems servicing the public Linimo (Tobu Kyuryo Line, Japan): Linimo, The commercial automated "Urban Maglev" system commenced operation in March 2005 in Aichi, Japan. This is the nine-station 8.9 km long Tobu-Kyuryo Line, otherwise known as the Linimo Shanghai Maglev Train: Transrapid, in Germany, constructed the first operational highspeed conventional maglev railway in the world, the Shanghai Maglev Train from downtown Shanghai (Shanghai Metro) to the Pudong International Airport. It was inaugurated in 2002. The highest speed achieved on the Shanghai track has been 501 km/h, over a track length of 30 km Daejeon, South Korea. The first maglev utilizing electromagnetic suspension opened to public was HML-03, which was made by Hyundai Heavy Industries, for Daejeon Expo in 1993 after five years of research and manufacturing two prototypes; HML-01 and HML-02. The final UTM model of Rotem's urban maglev, UTM-03, is scheduled to debut at the end of 2012 in Incheon's Yeongjong island where Incheon International Airport is located. Under construction Old Dominion University Track of less than a mile in length has been constructed at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. AMT Test Track, Georgia: The same principle is involved in the construction of a second prototype system in Powder Springs, Georgia, USA, by American Maglev Technology, Inc.

Applied Levitation/Fast transit Test Track - Santa Barbara, California Applied Levitation, Inc. has built a levitating prototype on a short indoor track, and is now planning a quartermile outdoor track, with switches, in or near Santa Barbara. Beijing S1 Line: The Beijing municipal government is building China's first low-speed maglev line using technology developed by Defense Technology University. This is the 10.2 km long S1-West commuter rail line, which, together with seven other conventional lines, saw construction began on Feb. 28, 2011. Top speed will be 105 km/hr. It is scheduled to be completed in two years.

Proposed systems: Maglev train proposals

Many maglev systems have been proposed in various nations of North America, Asia, and Europe. Many are still in the early planning stages, or even mere speculation, as with the transatlantic tunnel. But a few of the following examples have progressed beyond that point. Australia Sydney-Illawarra Maglev Proposal: There is a current proposal for a Maglev route 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 from the Illawarra to Sydney for work each day. Current trains crawl along the dated Illawarra line, between the cliff face of the Illawarra escarpment and the Pacific Ocean, with travel times about two hours between Wollongong Station and Central. The proposed Maglev would cut travel times to 20 minutes. Melbourne Maglev Proposal: The proposed Melbourne Maglev connecting the city of Geelong through Metropolitan Melbourne's outer suburban growth corridors, Tullamarine and Avalon domestic in and international terminals in under 20 mins and on to Frankston, Victoriain under 30 minutes. United Kingdom UK Ultra speed London Glasgow: A maglev line was recently proposed in the United Kingdom from London to Glasgow with several route options through the Midlands, Northwest and Northeast of England and was reported to be under favourable consideration by the government. Iran Iran and a German company have reached an agreement on using maglev trains to link the cities of Tehran and Mashhad.

Venezuela Caracas: La Guaira A maglev train (TELMAGV) has been proposed to connect the capital city Caracas to the main port town of La Guaira and Simn Bolvar International Airport. China Shanghai Hangzhou China is planning to extend the existing Shanghai Maglev Train, initially by some 35 kilometers to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport and then 200 kilometers to the city of Hangzhou (Shanghai-Hangzhou Maglev Train). If built, this would be the first inter-city maglev rail line in commercial service. Japan Tokyo Nagoya Osaka: Proposed Ch Shinkansen route (thin broken orange line) and existing Tkaid Shinkansen route (bold solid orange line). The plan for the Ch Shinkansen bullet train system was finalized based on the Law for Construction of Countrywide Shinkansen. The Linear Chuo Shinkansen Project aims to realize this plan using the Superconductive Magnetically Levitated Train, which connects Tokyo and Osaka by way of Nagoya, the capital city of Aichi, in approximately one hour at a speed of 500 km/h. India Mumbai Delhi: A maglev line project was presented to the Indian railway minister by an American company. A line was proposed to serve between the cities of Mumbai and Delhi; the Prime Minister said that if the line project is successful the Indian government would build lines between other cities and also between Mumbai centre and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The State of Maharashtra has also approved a feasibility study for a Maglev train between Mumbai and Nagpur about 1000 km away. It plans to connect the regions of Mumbai and Pune with Nagpur via less developed hinterland (via Ahmednagar, Beed, Latur, Nanded and Yavatmal). United States Union Pacific Freight Conveyor: Plans are under way by American rail road operator Union Pacific to build a 8 km container shuttle between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, with UP's Intermodal Container Transfer Facility. California-Nevada Interstate Maglev: High-speed maglev lines between major cities of southern California and Las Vegas are also being studied via the California-Nevada Interstate Maglev Project. Baltimore-Washington D.C. Maglev: A 64 km project has been proposed linking Camden Yards in Baltimore and Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport to Union

Station in Washington, D.C. It is said to be in demand for the area due to its current traffic/congestion problems. The Pennsylvania Project: The Pennsylvania High-Speed Maglev Project corridor extends from the Pittsburgh International Airport to Greensburg, with intermediate stops in Downtown Pittsburgh and Monroeville San Diego-Imperial County airport: In 2006 San Diego commissioned a study for a maglev line to a proposed airport located in Imperial County. SANDAG says that the concept would be an "airports without terminals", allowing passengers to check in at a terminal in San Diego ("satellite terminals") and take the maglev to Imperial airport and board the airplane there as if they went directly through the terminal in the Imperial location. In addition, the maglev would have the potential to carry high priority freight. Atlanta Chattanooga: The proposed maglev route would run from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, run through Atlanta, continue to the northern suburbs of Atlanta, and possibly even extend to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Germany On 25 September 2007, Bavaria announced it would build a high-speed maglev-rail service from the city of Munich to its airport. The Bavarian government signed contracts with Deutsche Bahn and Transrapid with Siemens and ThyssenKrupp for the 1.85 billion euro project. Indonesia There are plans to build a 683 km long maglev rail service between Jakarta and Surabaya. This maglev will have 7 stations including Semarang.


Pros and cons of different technologies

Each implementation of the magnetic levitation principle for train-type travel involves advantages and disadvantages. Time will tell as to which principle, and whose implementation, wins out commercially. Technology EMS (Electromagnetic) Pros Magnetic fields inside and outside the vehicle are insignificant; proven, commercially available technology that can attain very high speeds (500km/h); no wheels or secondary propulsion system needed. Onboard magnets and large margin between rail and train enable to highest recorded high speeds (581km/h) and high load capacity; has recently demonstrated successful operations using high temperature superconductors in its onboard magnets, cooled with inexpensive liquid nitrogen. Cons The separation between the vehicle and guideway must be constantly monitored and corrected by the computer systems to avoid collision due to unstable nature pf electromagnetic attractions. Strong magnetic fields Onboard the train would make the train inaccessible to passengers with pacemakers or magnetic data storage media such as hard drives and credit cards, necessitating the use of magnetic shielding; vehicle must be wheeled for travel at low speeds; system per mile cost still considered prohibitive; the system is not yet out of prototype phase.

EDS (Electrodynamics)

Pros and cons of maglev vs. conventional trains

Due to the lack of physical contact between the track and the vehicle, there is no rolling friction, leaving only air resistance (although maglev trains also experience electromagnetic drag, this is relatively small at high speeds). Maglev can handle high volumes of passengers per hour and do it without introducing air pollution along the right of way. Of course, the electricity has to be generated somewhere, so the overall environmental impact of a maglev system is dependent on the nature of the grid power source. The weight of the large electromagnets in EMS and EDS designs are a major design issue. A very strong magnetic field is required to levitate a massive train. For this reason one research path is using superconductors to improve the efficiency of the electromagnets.

Due to its high speed and shape, the noise generated by a maglev train is similar to a jet aircraft, and is considerably more disturbing than standard steel on steel intercity train noise. A study found the difference between disturbance levels of maglev and traditional trains to be 5dB (about 78% noisier).

Advantages of Maglev:
Well it sounds high-tech, a floating train; they do offer certain benefits over conventional steel rail on steel wheel railways. The primary advantage is maintenance. Because the train floats along there is no contact with the ground and therefore no need for any moving parts. As a result there are no components that would wear out. This means in theory trains and track would need no maintenance at all. The second advantage is that because maglev trains float, there is no friction. Note that there will still be air resistance. A third advantage is less noise, because there are no wheels running along there is no wheel noise. However noise due to air disturbance still occurs. The fourth advantage is speed, as a result of the three previous listed it is more viable for maglev trains to travel extremely fast, i.e. 500km/h or 300mph. Although this is possible with conventional rail it is not economically viable. Maglevs use 30% less energy than normal trains. Another advantage is that the guideway can be made a lot thicker in places, e.g. after stations and going uphill, which would mean a maglev could get up to 300km/h in only 5km where currently takes 18km. Also greater gradients would be applicable.

Disadvantages with Maglev:

There are several disadvantages with maglev trains. Maglev guide paths are bound to be more costly than conventional steel railways. The other main disadvantage is lack with existing infrastructure.

A possible solution
Maglevs are still being developed and improved upon, and someone might just find a way to reduce the cost of the track or a simpler way of constructing the track. A solution could be to put normal steel wheels onto the bottom of a maglev train, which would allow it to run on normal railway once it was off the floating guideway.

Maglev Problems and Solutions to be addressed

Problem 1) August 11, 2006 fire On August 11, 2006 fire a fire broke out on the Shanghai commercial Transrapid, shortly after leaving the terminal in Longyang. 2) September 22, 2006 crash On September 22, 2006 an elevated Transrapid train collided with a maintenance vehicle on a test run at Lathen (Germany). Twenty three people were killed and ten were injured. These were the first fatalities resulting from a maglev train accident. Solution - Learn from the accidents that have occurred. The head of the Shanghai Transrapid project visited the crash site in Germany to learn what occurred to keep this incident from happening to them.

Problem - An example of this is the Tokyo to Osaka rail at an estimated cost of 100 billion dollars. Solution - Cost is relative. According to Maglev2000.com, the average cost for air travel is about 13 cents per passenger mile. This includes labor, airplanes, fuel, and other costs, and corresponds to a ticket price of about $600 round trip, for a coast-to-coast flight. M-2000 Maglev operational costs for vehicles, energy, and labor total about 4 cents per passenger mile, not including the amortization cost for the guideway. Land purchases for the track will be offset if the Interstate highways can be used with permission and subsidy of the federal government. Problem - Liquid nitrogen is used to makes magnets more efficient but is not readily accessible to the public. Solution - According to the Physics Factbook, the farther you are from the condensing plant, the higher the cost of the liquid nitrogen. In addition, when delivered in Dewar flasks, liquid nitrogen costs about $2 per gallon but when delivered in bulk storage tanks, it costs about $0.50 per gallon. Nonetheless, the atmosphere is about 78 percent nitrogen so liquid nitrogen can be manufactured anywhere and will still be relatively cheap. As with biofuel, the more the demand, the easier it will be to find.

Problem - Traveling up steep grades is hard for this means of transportation. For instance, traveling through the Smoky mountains. Solution - Create roadbeds that are level or use existing Interstate byways. The use of lightweight materials in the construction of the vehicles will aid in maintaining the speed and create a more efficient vehicle. There are a number of examples where a steep grade is actually not a problem for some tracks. This issue is being addressed by NASA in their attempt to send a maglev assisted rocket into outerspace using this technology.

Problem - People sometimes throw objects off bridges into oncoming traffic. Solution - Cover the overpasses with circular fine mesh fencing. A marble hitting the windshield of a fast-moving train could cause tremendous damage. Problem - There is the chance someone will attempt to blow up some of the track or obstruct it. Solution - A smart rack or smart road will sense the obstruction or break in the electronic line and automatically slow the traffic to a stop or re-route it around the problem.

Problem - A direct lightning strike could take out an electronic road pretty quick. Solution - Power lines take strikes every day and usually recover quickly. The technology has been around a long time and should be easy to adapt to the maglev. Problem - Heavy rain and snow can cover the flat magnetic rails in the road. Solution - Maglev vehicles can 'float' over many obstacles with little problem. Unless the water is saturated with a lot of iron, there should be little difference. Safety increases in bad weather with a maglev highway over regular highways since the vehicle is automatically directed and the smart road knows the proximity of the nearest traffic. Frequently Asked Questions Q. Why do the superconducting magnets have to be super-cooled? A. Its a matter of complex physics. But by bathing superconducting magnetic coils in liquid helium, a refrigerant, scientists can create large magnetic fields that produce no electrical resistance and they dont lose power and they use very little energy.

Q. Does low-speed Maglev have advantages over light rail or a rubber-tire "people mover" system? A. Supporters cite lower capital costs, lower operating costs, tight turning capabilities, virtually no noise pollution, smooth rides because levitated vehicles create no friction, less intrusion on land and an opportunity to showcase the city and establish it as world leader of transit technology.

In the future, Maglev promises to be the major new mode of transport for the 21st Century and beyond because of its energy efficiency, environmental benefits and time-saving high velocity transport. Because there is no mechanical contact between the vehicles and the guideway, speeds can be extremely high. Traveling in the atmosphere, air drag limits vehicles to speeds of about 300-350mph. Traveling in low pressure tunnels, MagLev vehicles can operate at speeds of thousands of miles per hour. The energy efficiency of Maglev transport, either in kilowatt-hours per passenger mile for personal transport, or kilowatt hours per ton-mile for freight, is much lower for MagLev

than for autos, trucks, and airplanes. It is pollution free can use renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, and in contrast to oil and gas fueled transport, does not contribute to global warming. It is weather independent, and can carry enormous traffic loads - both people and goods - on environmentally friendly, narrow guideways. The cost of moving people and goods by MagLev will be considerably less than by the present modes of auto, truck, rail, and air. In addition to dramatically improving transport capabilities on Earth, MagLev has the potential to greatly reduce the cost of launching payloads into space. While it presently costs $10,000 per pound to orbit payloads using rockets, the energy cost to orbit that same pound would be only 50 cents per pound, if it were magnetically accelerated to orbital velocity. As ultra high velocity magnetic launchers are developed, the cost of reaching space will come down to everyday, mass market standards. These and additional applications such as MagLev for mining, the Water Train and others to come will guarantee MagLev an important place in transportation history.

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