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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 Doormat on 6/9/2008 10:52:50 AM , Rating: 2
More than 1000 people leave SoCal for Vegas each day, but how many trains can you run per day? If you figure there is an early morning 6am departure (the first WN flight of the day leaves Vegas for LA at 6), and then one every two hours up until 8pm, thats 8x day. So you're still looking at $273/rt if you could fill each train 100%. Even last minute WN reservations are about $200+taxes/rt.

Though there is the ability to recover revenue through non-farebox methods - you could sell WiFi onboard for $5/trip, ads, high priority (and high priced) freight, etc.

RE: This idea has been around since 1979...
By masher2 on 6/9/2008 11:05:03 AM , Rating: 3
I don't see why they couldn't run a train every 30 minutes or even closer. The route will be bidirectional I'm sure; there's no need for one train to arrive before the next begins.

By Doormat on 6/9/2008 7:01:09 PM , Rating: 2
True, but whats the marginal cost of running each train? Much like with airlines, you don't want too high of a frequency because your load factors fall and you're operational costs skyrocket. Now if the cost of running each train one way is very low, then yea, launch them every 30 minutes, even if you only fill it up 25% you've made money.

If you need 60-70% load factors to make money, then it gets tough to provide that often of service.

Finally, it doesnt even have to be regular. As anyone who travels between the two cities can tell you, starting thursday nights there is a lot more traffic into LV and sunday afternoons are awful, it can take up to 8 hrs to get back to LA from LV. Much like airlines, charge more for peak travel times and adjust prices as the price of gas goes up and down.

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