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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 EricMartello on 6/10/2008 3:16:30 AM , Rating: 2
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:


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.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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