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Japanese JR-Maglev  (Source: Yosemite)
Government funnels $45M into maglev proposal.

President Bush signed a transportation bill that will help fund a high speed maglev train between Disneyland and Las Vegas. The initial $45M investment will be used for environmental studies to evaluate construction impact on one portion of the proposed maglev route.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., showed support of the project and said the maglev train "will safely and efficiently move people between southern California and Las Vegas."

As more nations begin to roll out maglev train systems, critics in the U.S. grow increasingly frustrated over the lack of support of organized high speed trains in the United States.

With speeds up to 300 MPH, the maglev train will be able to transport passengers between the two locations, about 250 miles apart, in less than two hours. Most drivers who go from the Los Angeles or Anaheim area to Las Vegas are forced to take Interstate 15, but the highway routinely is clogged with gridlock during rush hour.

Congress must now choose the maglev system over other train projects under consideration by the government, including a diesel-electric train that was proposed after a 2005 funding mishap that delayed the Disneyland-Las Vegas line. Japan was the first nation to launch a diesel-hybrid train system, but the train was twice as expensive to build as a regular train.

The United States Maglev Coalition (USMC) is an organization wanting to develop maglev technology in the U.S. The group helped the federal government fix a September 2005 report that "unfairly and erroneously criticized maglev's costs while ignoring its benefits."

Maglev trains are extremely expensive to create, so $45M could easily lead to a multi-billion dollar investment. The Shanghai maglev train network cost almost $30M per mile to create, and a proposed route in Japan is estimated to cost up to $82B to complete.

Germany, Canada, England, China and Japan are included in the small selection of countries that either have working maglev systems or are testing maglev technology.



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RE: This idea has been around since 1979...
By Alexstarfire on 6/9/2008 8:04:40 AM , Rating: 2
5 lanes.... HA. If we had a 5 lane, in each direction, highway in downtown Atlanta it'd come to a crawl; though, it still comes to a crawl with 7? lanes, or is it 8?

Anyways, a Maglev would be a lot better if they built it from coast to coast and not on a little piddly 250 miles stretch. Jeez, I could take a round trip and still have gas left over in my tank. If it's going to cost billions of dollars just to put up a maglev on that little stretch... then maglevs certainly aren't the way of the future. Though, if they ran it across the country and had stops in all the major cities on the way, like Atlanta, Birmingham, Dallas, Las Vegas, Pheonix, LA, etc. then it might be a lot better off. Course, you could start it even in Miami and have it go through Tampa, or you could start it in New York. Either way, it'd be much better to do that than just from LA to LV. Course, if they plan to expand then.... you gotta start somewhere.


RE: This idea has been around since 1979...
By EricMartello on 6/9/2008 9:16:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Anyways, a Maglev would be a lot better if they built it from coast to coast and not on a little piddly 250 miles stretch


They're building it on a small stretch because they want to study the impact that its construction will have on the environment.

I agree about the $30M / mile pricing making this train a loss leader for the transit authority that operates it...or something that tax payers can expect to pay off over the next 20-30 years. It would seem to me that they need to find a more cost-effective method of producing maglev trains before they become feasible.


RE: This idea has been around since 1979...
By masher2 (blog) on 6/9/2008 10:59:13 AM , Rating: 2
> "They're building it on a small stretch because they want to study the impact that its construction will have on the environment"

They're building it over a small stretch because -- at construction costs of ~$100M per mile -- a country-wide maglev would bankrupt the nation. Besides, even at 300 mph, few are going to want to ride all the way from NYC to LA.


RE: This idea has been around since 1979...
By EricMartello on 6/10/2008 3:16:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
They're building it over a small stretch because -- at construction costs of ~$100M per mile -- a country-wide maglev would bankrupt the nation. Besides, even at 300 mph, few are going to want to ride all the way from NYC to LA.


Bankrupt? Us? What are you talking about, we'll just borrow more money from China.... :)

The ideal place for a high speed train is between two points that are far enough apart to be a hassle to drive, yet close enough together to the point where flying would also be a hassle. Example:

PHL <-> NYC

That might be the most perfect place to put a maglev train, or other high-speed rail. Amtrak tried this with Acela but failed, realizing that they'd have to redo all the tracks to support train speeds of 120-150 MPH.


By The Irish Patient on 6/10/2008 11:54:00 AM , Rating: 2
For those who don't live in the Northeast corridor, Amtrak has a (potentially) high speed train called the Acela running between Boston and Washington, DC. The problem is that speeds are severely limited by the ancient track for most of its route.

I take the Acela occasionally from New Haven, Connecticut to DC. The Acela is no faster than a clunky commuter rail car from New Haven to Metropark, NJ. Then it gets up and flies the rest of the way to DC.

Let me tell you, the Acela is a thing of beauty at sustained speeds of 100+ mph. Trains like this (with track to match) are what this country needs, not some pork barrel maglev project. This is old tech that works. No one would fly between NYC and DC if the track got fixed up all the way. Same thing between NYC and Boston.


"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson











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