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Only a handful of nations are currently testing Maglev rail technology

Japan plans on having its first magnetic levitation (Maglev) rail system in service by 2025.  The trains have a top commercial speed of 310 m.p.h., and use electric-powered magnets to float above tracks.  More specifically, floating above the tracks helps greatly reduce the amount of friction between the train and track, helping make the trains go faster.

The Maglevs will replace Japan's Shinkansen "bullet" trains, which have reached their technological and transportation capacity limits.  The first Japanese Maglev line will travel between Tokyo and Nagoya.

Central Japan Railway (JR Tokai) plans on operating the first Japanese Maglev service, according to Masayuki Matsumoto, JR Tokai President.  The company has been testing Maglev cars on a track in Yamanashi for more than 10 years.

Even though a French train holds the world speed record on rails -- 357.2 m.p.h. -- the Maglev holds the current overall record -- a maximum speed of 361 m.p.h.

The only fully operational Maglev line is operating on almost 20 miles of rails in Shanghai.  Japan and Germany are currently the nations that have taken great strides to improve Maglev technology.  Unfortunately, a German test Maglev train crashed last September, killing 23 people.

As someone who has ridden the Japanese Shinkansen trains before, I am sad to see the famed bullet train forced into retirement -- but am extremely excited to some day ride the first generation of Maglev trains.


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MPH?
By Emma on 4/27/2007 6:28:38 AM , Rating: -1
Yawn, the world has moved on from the imperial unit... get with the times.

Anyway, it's amazing that the maglev's have been tested for 10 years and it's still about 12 years before they will be in commercial operation. Talk about cutting edge!

It'll be good to have these all over the world soon so planes don't need to be used so much. Within a century we'll be running out of fossil fuels so a system that may run on sustainable energy is the future.




RE: MPH?
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 4/27/2007 9:51:57 AM , Rating: 2
We have been hearing the Fossil fuels shorage since the 1920's. That said, newer faster trains that utilize electromagnets would be awesome.


RE: MPH?
By Misty Dingos on 4/27/2007 11:08:57 AM , Rating: 1
Sorry Emma, we may run out of fossil fuels but we will never run out of gasoline, diesel or petrol if you want. All fossil fuels can be manufactured from the chemical up. Often out of waste products out of other industrial processes. So long after the Arab Oil Barons have dripped dry you will be able to gas up your Toyota at the BP.


RE: MPH?
By Hydrofirex on 4/29/2007 4:35:06 PM , Rating: 2
I believe this is a gross misrepresentation of what the actual process would entail. Sure, matter can neither be created or destroyed and all the stuff, chemically altered stuff, is still in our ecosystem, but this, along with production realities (and their costs) might prove to be a tad more prohibitive than you're assertion implies.... until we have some kind of molecular sequencer I think you're painting a pretty skewed picture.

This is basically suggesting that we shouldn't bother investing in new cleaner technologies simply because we can get away with doing it dirty. Further, it ignores the potential that renewable sources of power may prove cheaper, more abundant, and far more technologically sophisticated in long run.

HfX


RE: MPH?
By jskirwin on 4/27/2007 9:49:43 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
It'll be good to have these all over the world soon so planes don't need to be used so much.


In Japan planes aren't used much for travel on the island of Honshu. This will replace the shinkansen which is already electrified.

In the US we already have an electrified corridor (DC-Boston). However the problem isn't the speed of the trains: it's the congestion on the rails. The high-speed Acela spends most of its trip between DC-NYC well-below its top speed due to the rail congestion.

Many don't appreciate how large the USA is, and how far apart its larger metropolitan areas are. Keep in mind that Japan could comfortably fit into one US state: California.

Electrified rails make no sense connecting Chicago with New York City - over 700 miles or twice the distance between Osaka and Tokyo. They only make sense in a few corridors like Austin-Dallas and San Diego-LA. These areas already have trains and not much air traffic within them.


RE: MPH?
By Triring on 4/27/2007 10:58:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In the US we already have an electrified corridor (DC-Boston). However the problem isn't the speed of the trains: it's the congestion on the rails. The high-speed Acela spends most of its trip between DC-NYC well-below its top speed due to the rail congestion.


Actually the problem lies within the rails.
Railroad systems have inherent speed limits depending on the overall route design, the amount of connections between rails, rail design and such.
The NE electrified corridor is basically using the same route as it's predecessor before being electrified inheriting the designed speeed limit with it.
From what I heard it was a finacial choice since Amtrak didn't have the necessary funding to redo the entire rail system to accommodate faster trains.
By the way with the new maglev trains traveling time between Chicago and New York would be around two hours since top speed is around 360 miles per hour.
Taking in consideration that more people can be transferred at one time with much better access into carts, if you don't consider the initial cost of construction, I think the maglev system would be a much better means of transportation for mid-distance travel.


RE: MPH?
By jskirwin on 4/28/2007 4:38:33 PM , Rating: 2
The shinkansen lines are completely separate from other tracks although they often use the same right-of-way. In the Northeast corridor you will have the Acela, the Metroliners, regional rail, and freight running on the same rails and often at the same time. Again, the problem is not the quality of the rails, it's the congestion. The Acela, which can operate at well over 80 MPH often pokes along at less than 40 waiting for signals to change and other trains to free up the blocks.

Airtime between Chicago and NYC is already less than 3 hours. Sure, when you factor in the hassle of actually getting to the airport, through security and through check-in the trip becomes a lot longer. Maybe a rail system would work...

But then you have to build the line, and electrify it. I assume that you could use a block system whereby rail blocks would be "lit" with electricity when trains are on them, "unlit" or turned off when nothing was on them. However I don't know if that's a fair assumption. All I do know is that a completely electrified 900 mile line between Chicago-NYC would waste a lot of energy.

When you factor in building the infrastructure, the NIMBY and eco-freaks who would try to kill the project along each mile of the line, plus the tech challenges (is the cart system in use anywhere?), planes look more economical and efficient for even the mid-distance travel.


RE: MPH?
By Triring on 4/28/2007 8:46:16 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The shinkansen lines are completely separate from other tracks although they often use the same right-of-way. In the Northeast corridor you will have the Acela, the Metroliners, regional rail, and freight running on the same rails and often at the same time. Again, the problem is not the quality of the rails, it's the congestion. The Acela, which can operate at well over 80 MPH often pokes along at less than 40 waiting for signals to change and other trains to free up the blocks.


Have you ever heard of a "Diagram"?
It is a method to develop a planned timetable drawn out to see which train is where at what speed. So you are able to place whatever train slower than the faster advancing train into a switchback so that the faster train can pass by.
Any rail organizer draw out these thing so to ensure full potential of trains.

As for super conductor maglev trains developed by Japan, you don't need to magnatize the entire route all the time. It uses Electromagnetic induction like the recent WiFi IDs where a coils within a strong magnetic field creates a repeling magnetic field. So a power line is need only for the train. The present experimental system in Yamanashi is already at the end stage where they connect three or four carts so yes a cart system will be introduced.


RE: MPH?
By noirsoft on 5/1/2007 1:25:43 PM , Rating: 2
Don't complain to him, complain to the people running the trains in the US. What he said about the train congestion is true. And, no amount of planning can help if a freight train is running late and there isn't a few miles of spare track at the right spot to route it to.


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