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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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Why maglev?
By PrinceGaz on 6/9/2008 3:34:38 PM , Rating: 2
Maglev is great for high-speed over short distances thanks to its ability to allow rapid acceleration, which is why it was used for the Shanghai airport link as it manages to accelerate to 220mph in just 2 minutes on its way to a full service speed of 268mph. Given that the Shanghai line is just 19 miles long and completes the run in just over 7 minutes, and that roughly 5 minutes of that are spent accelerating and braking quite aggresively (for a train), the high cost of maglev could be justified for reducing the journey time by about a third (and also for propoganda values, probably mainly for propoganda values ;)

For a longer run like the proposed 250 miles, a conventional dedicated high-speed rail link makes more sense unless money is no object. It might not be capable of such a high top speed as maglev (the TGV operates at up to 200mph on the fastest routes) but it's a lot cheaper to build.

The article says the maglev route would complete a journey in under two hours. I should certainly hope so! A dedicated conventional non-stop high-speed line could do it in less than an hour and a half, and a maglev like that in Shanghai could probably do it in about an hour if full speed running is allowed throughout (which as most of it is through desert would almost certainly be the case).

I'd say it would be better to build a conventional line, and use the money saved to extend it to more cities on the Californian end of the route.

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