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Transrapid Shanghai Maglev Train

Used in the Maveric Comic Universe,by Captain Toreus Starkiller.Originally used back 1973,by Captain Toreus,aka Toreus the Slayer.

Inside the Shanghai Transrapid maglev

Inside the Shanghai Transrapid maglev VIP section

A maglev, or magnetically levitating, train is a form of transportation that suspends, guides and propels vehicles (predominantly trains) using electromagnetic force. This method has the potential to be fast and quiet when compared to wheeled mass transit systems, potentially reaching velocities comparable to turboprop and jet aircraft (900 km/h, 600 mph). The highest recorded speed of a maglev train is 581 km/h (361 mph), achieved in Japan in 2003, 6 km/h higher than the conventional TGV speed record.

Contents1 History

  • 2 Commercial operation
  • 3 Technology

o 3.1 Electromagnetic suspension

o 3.2 Electrodynamic suspension

o 3.3 Magnetodynamic suspension

o 3.4 Pros and cons of different technologies

  • 3.4.1 Propulsion
  • 3.4.2 Stability
  • 4 Pros and cons of maglev vs. conventional trains
  • 5 Economics
  • 6 Historical maglev systems

o 6.1 First patents

o 6.2 Hamburg, Germany 1979

o 6.3 Birmingham, England 1984?1995

o 6.4 Japan, 1980s

o 6.5 Vancouver, Canada & Hamburg, Germany 1986-1988

o 6.6 Berlin, Germany 1989?1991

  • 7 The history of maximum speed record by a trial run
  • 8 Existing maglev systems

o 8.1 Emsland, Germany

o 8.2 JR-Maglev, Japan

o 8.3 Linimo (Tobu Kyuryo Line, Japan)

o 8.4 FTA's UMTD program

o 8.5 Southwest Jiaotong University, China

o 8.6 Shanghai Maglev Train

  • 9 Under construction

o 9.1 Old Dominion University

o 9.2 AMT Test Track - Powder Springs, GA

  • 10 Proposals

o 10.1 United Kingdom

o 10.2 Japan

o 10.3 Venezuela

o 10.4 China

o 10.5 India

o 10.6 United States

o 10.7 Germany

o 10.8 The Netherlands

  • 11 Most significant accidents and incidents

o 11.1 October 1991 fire

o 11.2 August 2006 fire

o 11.3 September 2006 crash

  • 12 See also
  • 13 Notes
  • 14 Further reading
  • 15 External links


Please help improve this article or section by expanding it.

Further information might be found on the talk page or at requests for expansion. (November 2007)

In the 1960s, maglev research in the United States was short-lived. In Britain, however, Eric Laithwaite developed a functional maglev train. His maglev had one mile (1.6 km) of track and was thoroughly tested, but his research was cut off in 1973 due to lack of funding and his progress was not sufficient. In the 1970s, Germany and Japan also began research and after some failures both nations developed mature technologies in the 1990s. However, superconductor related costs remain a barrier to widespread acceptance.[citation need

Commercial operation

The first commercial Maglev was opened in 1984 in Birmingham, England. It covered some 600 meters between its airport and railhub, and operated at 42 km/h (26 mph) until it was eventually closed in 1995 due to reliability and design problems. A contractor added an extra layer of fiberglass, and new trains had to be built. Its speedometer was based on radar, and was thrown off by snow.

The best-known high-speed maglev currently operating commercially is the IOS (initial operating segment) demonstration line of the German built Transrapid train in Shanghai, China that transports people 30 km (18.6 miles) to the airport in just 7 minutes 20 seconds, achieving a top velocity of 431 km/h (268 mph), averaging 250 km/h (150 mph).

Other commercially operating lines exist in Japan, such as the Linimo line. Other maglev projects worldwide are being studied for feasibility. In Japan at the Yamanashi test track, current maglev train technology is mature, but costs and problems remain a barrier to development, alternative technologies are being developed to address those issedit


All operational implementations of maglev technology have had minimal overlap with wheeled train technology and have not been compatible with conventional rail tracks. Because they cannot share existing infrastructure, maglevs must be designed as complete transportation systems. The term "maglev" refers not only to the vehicles, but to the railway system as well, specifically designed for magnetic levitation and propulsion.

See also fundamental technology elements in the JR-Maglev article, Technology in the Transrapid article, Magnetic levitation

There are two primary types of maglev technology:

  • electromagnetic suspension (EMS) uses the attractive magnetic force of a magnet beneath a rail to lift the train up.
  • electrodynamic suspension (EDS) uses a repulsive force between two magnetic fields to push the train away from the rail.

Another experimental technology, which was designed, proven mathematically, peer reviewed, and patented, but is yet to be built, is the magnetodynamic suspension (MDS), which uses the attractive magnetic force of a permanent magnet array near a steel track to lift the train and hold it in place.

] Electromagnetic suspension

In current EMS systems, the train levitates above a steel rail while electromagnets, attached to the train, are oriented toward the rail from beIow. The electromagnets use feedback control to maintain a train at a constant distance from the track, at approximately 15 millimeters (0.6 in).[5][6]

Electrodynamic suspension

EDS Maglev Propulsion via propulsion coils

In Electrodynamic suspension (EDS), both the rail and the train exert a magnetic field, and the train is levitated by the repulsive force between these magnetic fields. The magnetic field in the train is produced by either electromagnets (as in JR-Maglev) or by an array of permanent magnets (as in Inductrack). The repulsive force in the track is created by an induced magnetic field in wires or other conducting strips in the track.

At slow speeds, the current induced in these coils and the resultant magnetic flux is not large enough to support the weight of the train. For this reason the train must have wheels or some other form of landing gear to support the train until it reaches a speed that can sustain levitation.

Propulsion coils on the guideway are used to exert a force on the magnets in the train and make the train move forward. The propulsion coils that exert a force on the train are effectively a linear motor: An alternating current flowing through the coils generates a continuously varying magnetic field that moves forward along the track. The frequency of the alternating current is synchronized to match the speed of the train. The offset between the field exerted by magnets on the train and the applied field create a force moving the train forward.

[ Magnetodynamic suspension

Magnetodynamic suspension, invented by Dr. Oleg Tozoni, is similar to the EMS system in that it uses attractive forces, but differs in that the magnets used for suspension are permanent, and the stability is built into the system itself using physics/mechanical systems, as opposed to EMS's computer systems. MDS is based on the idea of using a minimum energy point to balance the train. A simple way to explain this is to compare EMS to a hill, with minimum energy points on the sides of it, and MDS to a valley with the minimum point in the center. The center of each would be the vehicle's suspended center point. If you put a ball on the top of the hill and apply any force to it, the ball will try to roll down, and you would need to apply a compensation force in the other direction to keep it centered. Once the ball gets to the top of the hill, it will try to keep rolling down the other side, and an opposite, compensating force is needed. This is what EMS does when it uses stabilising systems to increase or decrease the strength of the electromagnets holding the train suspended, and that system is inherently unstable, requiring a constant outside stabilising force. MDS, on the other hand, is more like a valley with the energy minimum in the center. It takes energy to move the ball away from the bottom, and the ball returns to the bottom on its own. This is possible because steel magnetic permeability is highly dependent on magnetic flux intensity in that steel. Basically, the more you magnetize steel, the more difficult it is to magnetize it even more. Once the steel becomes fully saturated, bringing a magnet closer to it will not increase the strength of the magnetic field between the magnet and the magnetically saturated steel. Dr. Tozoni figured out how to create what is essentially magnetic insulation, which would keep magnetic fields escaping from the steel rails into the surrounding air, thus concentrating the magnetic field in those rails and saturating them. MDS uses a series of magnets constructed in such a way that when the array is suspended within the steel rail, the lateral, side-to-side, forces pulling the train towards the steel rails become much weaker than the horizontal, up-down, force holding the magnets centered between the rails. When two such magnet arrays are arranged perpendicular to each other, the stronger forces cancel out the weaker forces, forcing the train to stay centered between the rails automatically, thus holding it in the minimum energy point; any outside force that moves the train away from the center line of travel is countered by a force wanting to bring the train back to the center minimum. AMLEVTrans

Pros and cons of different technologies

Each implementation of the magnetic levitation principle for train-type travel involves advantages and disadvantages. Time will tell us which principle, and whose implementation, wins out commercially.




EMS (Electromagnetic)

Magnetic fields inside and outside the vehicle are insignificant; proven, commercially available technology that can attain very high speeds (500 km/h); no wheels or secondary propulsion system needed

The separation between the vehicle and the guideway must be constantly monitored and corrected by computer systems to avoid collision due to the unstable nature of electromagnetic attraction; due to the system's inherent instability and the required constant corrections by outside systems, vibration issues may occur.

EDS (Electrodynamic)

Onboard magnets and large margin between rail and train enable highest recorded train speeds (581 km/h) and heavy load capacity; has recently demonstrated (December 2005) successful operations using high temperature superconductors in its onboard magnets, cooled with inexpensive liquid nitrogen

Strong magnetic fields onboard the train would make the train inaccessible to passengers with pacemakers or magnetic data storage media such as hard drives and credit cards, necessitating the use of magnetic shielding; limitations on guideway inductivity limit the maximum speed of the vehicle; vehicle must be wheeled for travel at low speeds; system per mile cost still considered prohibitive; the system is not yet out of prototype phase.

Inductrack System (Permanent Magnet EDS)

Failsafe Suspension - no power required to activate magnets; Magnetic field is localized beIow the car; can generate enough force at low speeds (around 5 km/h) to levitate maglev train; in case of power failure cars slow down on their own safely; Halbach arrays of permanent magnets may prove more cost-effective than electromagnets

Requires either wheels or track segments that move for when the vehicle is stopped. New technology that is still under development (as of 2007) and has as yet no commercial version or full scale system prototype.

MDS (Magnetodynamic)

Failsafe Suspension - no power required to activate magnets; separation between vehicle and guideway is automatic, requiring no outside control or monitoring; attractive force of permanent magnets is far greater than the repulsive or Halbach array force, thus smaller, cheaper magnets can be used; magnetic fields inside and outside vehicle are insignificant; in case of power failure, cars safely slow down on their own; entire system is designed using physics and mathematic calculations, and all aspects of it, including resulting forces, can be calculated, designed, and improved upon on paper or computers before construction, thus not requiring costly experiments with test models; because permanent magnets and steel is used, there is no limit, within the system itself, on the speed the train can achieve while still being able to stay suspended.

Because guideway insulation works via vehicle-generated eddy currents, the vehicle must be wheeled to travel at low speeds; guideway construction requires laminated steel encased in aluminum cores, all of which must be made to exact specifications, and thus may prove costly. Although tested via computer simulation, technology is still entirely theoretical.

Neither Inductrack nor the Superconducting EDS nor the MDS are able to levitate vehicles at a standstill, although Inductrack provides levitation down to a much lower speed. Wheels are required for these systems. EMS systems are wheel-less.

The German Transrapid, Japanese HSST (Linimo), and Korean Rotem EMS maglevs levitate at a standstill, with electricity extracted from guideway using power rails for the latter two, and wirelessly for Transrapid. If guideway power is lost on the move, the Transrapid is still able to generate levitation down to 10 km/h speed, using the power from onboard batteries. This is not the case with the HSST and Rotem systems.

[edit] Propulsion

An EMS system can provide both levitation and propulsion using an onboard linear motor. EDS systems can only levitate the train using the magnets onboard, not propel it forward. As such, vehicles need some other technology for propulsion. A linear motor (propulsion coils) mounted in the track is one solution. Over long distances where the cost of propulsion coils could be prohibitive, a propeller or jet engine could be used.

[edit] Stability

Earnshaw's theorem shows that any combination of static magnets cannot be in a stable equilibrium. However, the various levitation systems achieve stable levitation by violating the assumptions of Earnshaw's theorem. Earnshaw's theorem assumes that the magnets are static and unchanging in field strength and that permeability is constant everywhere. EMS systems rely on active electronic stabilization. Such systems constantly measure the bearing distance and adjust the electromagnet current accordingly. All EDS systems are moving systems (no EDS system can levitate the train unless it is in motion). MDS systems use materials with non-uniform permeability.

[edit] Pros and cons of maglev vs. conventional trains

Maglev trains are not compatible with conventional track, and hence require all new infrastructure for their entire route. By contrast conventional high speed trains such as the TGV are able to run at reduced speeds on existing rail infrastructure, thus reducing expenditure where new infrastructure would be particularly expensive (such as the final approaches to city terminals), or on extensions where traffic does not justify new infrastructure.

Due to the lack of physical contact between the track and the vehicle, Maglev trains experience no rolling friction, leaving only air resistance and electromagnetic drag, potentially improving power efficiency.[1]

The weight of the large electromagnets in EMS and EDS designs is a major design issue. A very strong magnetic field is required to levitate a massive train. For this reason one research path is using superconductors to improve the efficiency of the electromagnets.

The high speed of some maglev trains translates to more sound due to air displacement, which gets louder as the trains go faster. A study found that high speed maglev trains are 5 dB noisier than traditional trains.[2] At low speeds, however, maglev trains are nearly silent. However, two trains passing at a combined 1,000 km/h has been successfully demonstrated without major problems in Japan.

Braking issues and overhead wire wear are problems for the Fastech 360 railed Shinkansen. Maglev would eliminate these issues, but not the noise pollution issue.

One advantage of maglev's higher speed would be extension of the serviceable area (3 hours radius) that can outcompete subsonic commercial aircraft.

Issues relating to magnets are also a factor. See suspension types.

As linear motors must fit within or straddle their track over the full length of the train, track design is challenging for anything other than point-to-point services. Curves must be gentle and avoid camber, while switches are very long and need care to avoid breaks in current.

Maglev needs very fast-responding control systems to maintain a stable height above the track; this needs careful design in the event of a failure in order to avoid crashing into the track during a power fluctuation.

[edit] Economics

The Shanghai maglev cost 9.93 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) to build.[3] This total includes infrastructure capital costs such as manufacturing and construction facilities, and operational training. At 50 yuan per passenger[4] and the current 7,000 passengers per day, income from the system is incapable of recouping the capital costs (including interest on financing) over the expected lifetime of the system, even ignoring operating costs.

China aims to limit the cost of future construction extending the maglev line to approximately 200 million yuan (US$24.6 million) per kilometer.[3] These costs compare competitively with airport construction (e.g., Hong Kong Airport cost US$20 billion to build in 1998) and eight-lane Interstate highway systems that cost around US$50 million per mile (US$31 million per kilometer) in the US.

While high-speed maglevs are expensive to build, they are less expensive to operate and maintain than traditional high-speed trains, planes or intercity buses.[citation needed] Data from the Shanghai maglev project indicates that operation and maintenance costs are covered by the current relatively low volume of 7,000 passengers per day.[citation needed] Passenger volumes on the Pudong International Airport line are expected to rise dramatically once the line is extended from Longyang Road metro station all the way to Shanghai's downtown train depot.

The proposed Ch Shinkansen maglev in Japan is estimated to cost approximately US$82 billion to build, with a route blasting long tunnels through mountains. A Tokaido maglev route replacing current Shinkansen would cost some 1/10th the cost, as no new tunnel blasting would be needed, but noise pollution issues would make it infeasible.

The only low-speed maglev (100 km/h) currently operational, the Japanese Linimo HSST, cost approximately US$100 million/km to build.[5] Besides offering improved operation and maintenance costs over other transit systems, these low-speed maglevs provide ultra-high levels of operational reliability and introduce little noise and zero air pollution into dense urban settings.

As maglev systems are deployed around the world, experts expect construction costs to drop as new construction methods are perfected.[citation needed]

[edit] Historical maglev systems

[edit] First patents

High speed transportation patents would be granted to various inventors throughout the world.[6] Early United States patents for a linear motor propelled train were awarded to the inventor, Alfred Zehden (German). The inventor would gain U.S. Patent 782,312 (June 21, 1902) and U.S. Patent RE12,700 (August 21, 1907).[7] In 1907, another early electromagnetic transportation system was developed by F. S. Smith.[8] A series of German patents for magnetic levitation trains propelled by linear motors were awarded to Hermann Kemper between 1937 and 1941.[9] An early modern type of maglev train was described in U.S. Patent 3,158,765 , Magnetic system of transportation, by G. R. Polgreen (August 25, 1959). The first use of "maglev" in a United States patent was in "Magnetic levitation guidance"[10] by Canadian Patents and Development Limited.

[edit] Hamburg, Germany 1979

There is conflict in this information. Transrapid 05 was the first maglev train with longstator propulsion licensed for passenger transportation. In 1979 a 908 m track was open in Hamburg for the first International Transportation Exhibition (IVA 79). There was so much interest that operation had to be extended three months after exhibition finished, after carrying more than 50,000 passengers. It was reassembled in Kassel in 1980.

[edit] Birmingham, England 1984?1995

The world's first commercial automated system was a low-speed maglev shuttle that ran from the airport terminal of Birmingham International Airport to the nearby Birmingham International railway station from 1984 to 1995. Based on experimental work commissioned by the British government at the British Rail Research Division laboratory at Derby, the length of the track was 600 meters (1,969 ft), and trains "flew" at an altitude of 15 millimeters (0.6 in). It was in operation for nearly eleven years, but obsolescence problems with the electronic systems (lack of spare parts) made it unreliable in its later years and it has now been replaced with a cable-drawn system. One of the original cars now sits in part of the airport with most passers-by unaware of its existence.

Several favourable conditions existed when the link was built.

[edit] Japan, 1980s

Maglev speeds on the Miyazaki test track had regularly hit 517 km/h by 1979, but after an accident that destroyed the train, a new design was decided upon. Tests through the 1980s continued in Miyazaki before transferring a far larger and elaborate test track (20 km long) in Yamanashi in the late 1990s.

In Tsukuba, Japan (1985), the HSST-03 (Linimo) wins popularity in spite of being 30 km/h and a run of low speed in Tsukuba World Exposition. In Okazaki, Japan (1987), the JR-Maglev took a test ride at holding Okazaki exhibition and runs. In Saitama, Japan (1988), the HSST-04-1 exhibited it at Saitama exhibition performed in Kumagaya, and runs. Best speed per hour 30 km/h. In Yokohama, Japan (1989), the HSST-05 acquires a business driver's license at Yokohama exhibition and carries out general test ride driving. Maximum speed 42 km/h.

[edit] Vancouver, Canada & Hamburg, Germany 1986-1988

In Vancouver, Canada (1986), the JR-Maglev took a test ride at holding Vancouver traffic exhibition and runs. In Hamburg, Germany (1988), the TR-07 in international traffic exhibition (IVA88) performed Hamburg.

[edit] Berlin, Germany 1989?1991

Main article: M-Bahn

In West Berlin, the M-Bahn was built in the late 1980s. It was a driverless maglev system with a 1.6 km track connecting three stations. Testing in passenger traffic started in August 1989, and regular operation started in July 1991. Although the line largely followed a new elevated alignment, it terminated at the U-Bahn station Gleisdreieck, where it took over a platform that was then no longer in use; it was from a line that formerly ran to East Berlin. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, plans were set in motion to reconnect this line (today's U2). Deconstruction of the M-Bahn line began only two months after regular service began and was completed in February 1992.

[edit] The history of maximum speed record by a trial run

  • 1971 - West Germany - Prinzipfahrzeug - 90 km/h
  • 1971 - West Germany -TR-02(TSST)- 164 km/h
  • 1972 - Japan - ML100 - 60 km/h - (manned)
  • 1973 - West Germany - TR04 - 250 km/h (manned)
  • 1974 - West Germany - EET-01 - 230 km/h (unmanned)
  • 1975 - West Germany - Komet - 401.3 km/h (by steam rocket propulsion, unmanned)
  • 1978 - Japan - HSST-01 - 307.8 km/h (by supporting rockets propulsion, made in Nissan, unmanned)
  • 1978 - Japan - HSST-02 - 110 km/h (manned)
  • 1979-12-12 - Japan-ML-500R - 504 km/h (unmanned) It succeeds in operation over 500 km/h for the first time in the world.
  • 1979-12-21 - Japan -ML-500R- 517 km/h (unmanned)
  • 1987 - West Germany - TR06 - 406 km/h (manned)
  • 1987 - Japan - MLU001 - 400.8 km/h (manned)
  • 1988 - West Germany - TR-06 - 412.6 km/h (manned)
  • 1989 - West Germany - TR-07 - 436 km/h (manned)
  • 1993 - Germany - TR-07 - 450 km/h (manned)
  • 1994 - Japan - MLU002N - 431 km/h (unmanned)
  • 1997 - Japan - MLX01 - 531 km/h (manned)
  • 1997 - Japan - MLX01 - 550 km/h (unmanned)
  • 1999 - Japan - MLX01 - 548 km/h (unmanned)
  • 1999 - Japan - MLX01 - 552 km/h (manned/five formation).

Guinness authorization.

  • 2003 - Germany - TR-08 - 501 km/h (manned)
  • 2003 - Japan - MLX01 - 581 km/h (manned/three formation).

[edit] Existing maglev systems

[edit] Emsland, Germany

Transrapid at the Emsland test facility

Main article: Emsland test facility

Transrapid, a German maglev company, has a test track in Emsland with a total length of 31.5 km (19.6 mi). The single track line runs between Dorpen and Lathen with turning loops at each end. The trains regularly run at up to 420 km/h (261 mph). The construction of the test facility began in 1980 and finished in 1984.

[edit] JR-Maglev, Japan

JR-Maglev at Yamanashi. 581 km/h. Guinness World Records authorization.

Main article: JR-Maglev

Japan has a demonstration line in Yamanashi prefecture where test trains JR-Maglev MLX01 have reached 581 km/h (361 mph), slightly faster than any wheeled trains (the current TGV speed record is 574.8 km/h, 357.0 mph).

These trains use superconducting magnets which allow for a larger gap, and repulsive-type Electro-Dynamic Suspension (EDS). In comparison Transrapid uses conventional electromagnets and attractive-type Electro-Magnetic Suspension (EMS). These "Superconducting Maglev Shinkansen", developed by the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, are currently the fastest trains in the world, achieving a record speed of 581 km/h on December 2, 2003. Yamanashi Prefecture residents (and government officials) can sign up to ride this for free, and some 100,000 have done so already.

[edit] Linimo (Tobu Kyuryo Line, Japan)

Linimo train approaching Banpaku Kinen Koen, towards Fujigaoka Station in March 2005

Main article: Linimo

The world's first commercial automated "Urban Maglev" system commenced operation in March 2005 in Aichi, Japan. This is the nine-station 8.9 km long Tobu-kyuryo Line, otherwise known as the Linimo. The line has a minimum operating radius of 75 m and a maximum gradient of 6%. The linear-motor magnetic-levitated train has a top speed of 100 km/h. The line serves the local community as well as the Expo 2005 fair site. The trains were designed by the Chubu HSST Development Corporation, which also operates a test track in Nagoya. Urban-type maglevs patterned after the HSST have been constructed and demonstrated in Korea, and a Korean commercial version Rotem is now under construction in Daejeon and projected to go into operation by April 2007.

[edit] FTA's UMTD program

In the US, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Urban Maglev Technology Demonstration program has funded the design of several low-speed urban maglev demonstration projects. It has assessed HSST for the Maryland Department of Transportation and maglev technology for the Colorado Department of Transportation. The FTA has also funded work by General Atomics at California University of Pennsylvania to demonstrate new maglev designs, the MagneMotion M3 and of the Maglev2000 of Florida superconducting EDS system. Other US urban maglev demonstration projects of note are the LEVX in Washington State and the Massachusetts-based Magplane.

[edit] Southwest Jiaotong University, China

On December 31, 2000, the first crewed high-temperature superconducting maglev was tested successfully at Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, China. This system is based on the principle that bulk high-temperature superconductors can be levitated or suspended stably above or beIow a permanent magnet. The load was over 530 kg (1166 lb) and the levitation gap over 20 mm (0.79 in). The system uses liquid nitrogen, which is very cheap, to cool the superconductor.

[edit] Shanghai Maglev Train

A maglev train coming out of the Pudong International Airport.

Main article: Shanghai Maglev Train

Transrapid, in Germany, constructed the first operational high-speed conventional maglev railway in the world, the Shanghai Maglev Train from downtown Shanghai (Shanghai Metro) to the Pudong International Airport. It was inaugurated in 2002. The highest speed achieved on the Shanghai track has been 501 km/h (311 mph), over a track length of 30 km. The plan for the Shanghai-Hangzhou Maglev Train was approved by the central government in February 2006, with plans for completion by 2010.

[edit] Under construction

[edit] Old Dominion University

A track of less than a mile in length has been constructed at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Although the system was initially built by AMT, problems caused the company to abandon the project and turn it over to the University.[11][12] The system is currently not operational, but research is ongoing to resolve stability issues with the system. This system uses a "smart train, dumb track" that involves most of the sensors, magnets, and computation occurring on the train rather than the track. This system will cost less to build per mile than existing systems. The $14 million originally planned did not allow for completion.

[edit] AMT Test Track - Powder Springs, GA

The same principle is involved in the construction of a second prototype system in Powder Springs, Georgia, by American Maglev Technology, Inc., already under testing and set for completion in January 2007.[13]

[edit] Proposals

Main article: Maglev train proposals

Many maglev systems have been proposed in various nations of North America, Asia, and Europe. Many of the systems are still in the early planning stages, or, in the case of the transatlantic tunnel, mere speculation. However, a few of the following examples have progressed beyond that point.

[edit] United Kingdom

Main article: UK Ultraspeed

London ? Glasgow: A maglev line has recently been proposed in the United Kingdom from London to Glasgow with several route options through the Midlands, Northwest and Northeast of England and was reported to be under favourable consideration by the government; however the technology was rejected for future planning in the Government White Paper Delivering a Sustainable Railway published on July 24, 2007.[14]. A further high speed link is also being planned between Glasgow and Edinburgh though there is no settled technology for this concept yet, ie (Maglev/Hi Speed Electric etc) [7] [8] [9]

[edit] Japan


Proposed Chuo Shinkansen route (gray) and existing Tokaido Shinkansen route (gold).

The master plan for the Chuo Shinkansen bullet train system was finalized based on the Law for Construction of Countrywide Shinkansen. The Linear Chuo Shinkansen Project aims to realize this plan through utilization of the Superconductive Magnetically Levitated Train, which connects Tokyo and Osaka by way of Nagoya, the capital city of Aichi, in approximately one hour at a speed of 500 km/h.

In April of 2007, JR Central President Masayuki Matsumoto said that JR Central would aim to begin commercial maglev service between Tokyo and Nagoya in the year 2025.

  • Linear Chuo Shinkansen Project

[edit] Venezuela

Caracas ? La Guaira: A maglev train is scheduled to be built this year connecting the capital city Caracas to the main port town of La Guaira and Simon Bolivar International Airport. Due to the extremely mountainous conditions which exist over this path, with traditional rail extensive use of tunnelling and bridging is required. Maglev systems can negotiate gradients of up to 10%, much steeper than those negotiable by standard rail systems, and as it may simply be able to climb over obstacles rather than be required to tunnel through or bridge over, this may make the maglev proposal more economically sound. The system is slated to be a stand-alone system of about 11 km. [10]

[edit] China

Shanghai ? Hangzhou: China has decided to extend the world?s first commercial Transrapid line between Pudong airport and the city of Shanghai initially by some 35 kilometers to Hong Qiao airport before the World Expo 2010 and then, in an additional phase, by 200 kilometers to the city of Hangzhou (Shanghai-Hangzhou Maglev Train), becoming the first inter-city Maglev rail line in commercial service in the world. The line will be an extension of the Shanghai airport Maglev line.

Talks with Germany and Transrapid Konsortium about the details of the construction contracts have started. On March 7, 2006, the Chinese Minister of Transportation was quoted by several Chinese and Western newspapers as saying the line was approved.

China also intends to build a factory which will mass-produce low-speed maglev trains for urban use. The location of the factory will be the Nanhui district. [11]

[edit] India

Mumbai ? Delhi:A maglev line project was presented to the India transportation minister Lalu Prasad by an American company, this line if approved would serve between the cities of Mumbai and Delhi, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that if the line project is succeeded Indian government would build lines between other cities and also between Mumbai centre and Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport. Mumbai maglev train

[edit] United States

California-Nevada Interstate Maglev: High-speed maglev lines between major cities of southern California and Las Vegas are also being studied via the California-Nevada Interstate Maglev Project. This plan was originally supposed to be part of an I-5 or I-15 expansion plan, but the federal government has ruled it must be separated from interstate public work projects.

Since the federal government decision, private groups from Nevada have proposed a line running from Las Vegas to Los Angeles with stops in Primm, Nevada; Baker, California; and points throughout Riverside County into Los Angeles. Southern California politicians have not been receptive to these proposals; many are concerned that a high speed rail line out of state would drive out dollars that would be spent in state "on a rail" to Nevada.

Baltimore-Washington D.C. Maglev: A 64 km project has been proposed linking Camden Yards in Baltimore and Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport to Union Station in Washington, D.C. It is in demand for the area due to its current traffic/congestion problems.

The Pennsylvania Project: The Pennsylvania High-Speed Maglev Project corridor extends from the Pittsburgh International Airport to Greensburg, with intermediate stops in downtown Pittsburgh and Monroeville. This initial project will serve a population of approximately 2.4 million people in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. The Baltimore proposal is competing with the Pittsburgh proposal for a $90 million federal grant.The point of the project is to see if the Maglev system can function properly in a U.S. city environment.[15]

[edit] Germany

On September 25, 2007, Bavaria announced it will build the high-speed maglev - rail service from Munich city to its airport. The Bavarian government signed contract with Deutsche Bahn and Transrapid with Siemens and ThyssenKrupp for the 1.85 billion euro ($2.6 billion) project.[16]

[edit] The Netherlands

A high-speed link has been proposed between Schiphol airport, Amsterdam and the city of Almere. The proposal comes from a consortium including Siemens, and is the third attempt to persuade the Dutch government to give a green light to a maglev project. The consortium says it can build the project with no government funding, if it is given a 50-year contract to operate the train.[12]

[edit] Most significant accidents and incidents

[edit] October 1991 fire

The MLU002 (Japan) test train was completely consumed in a fire in Miyazaki. As a result, the political opposition claimed maglev was a waste of public money. New designs were made.

[edit] August 2006 fire

On August 11, 2006 a fire broke out on the Shanghai commercial Transrapid, shortly after leaving the terminal in Longyang.

For more details, see Transrapid

[edit] September 2006 crash

Main article: 2006 Lathen maglev train accident

On September 22, 2006 an elevated Transrapid train collided with a maintenance vehicle on a test run in Lathen (Lower Saxony / north-western Germany). Twenty-three people were killed and ten were injured. These were the first fatalities resulting from a Maglev train accident. Note though, this accident was caused by human error.[17]

[edit] See also

Energy Portal

Trains Portal

  • Birmingham International Airport (UK), former home of world's first commercial maglev line
  • Ch Shinkansen, planned Tokyo-Osaka maglev Shinkansen line
  • Ground effect train
  • High-speed rail
  • JR-Maglev MLX01
  • Land speed record for railed vehicles
  • Linear motor
  • Magnetic levitation
  • Mass driver
  • Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line
  • SkyTrain (Vancouver)
  • Skytran
  • Shanghai Maglev Train
  • Shanghai-Hangzhou Maglev Train, proposed maglev line in China
  • Railway

[edit] ^ Transrapid claims to use a quarter less power at 200 km/h than the ICE train

8. ^ U.S. Patent 859,018 , July 2, 1907

9. ^ These German patents would be GR643316(1937), GR44302(1938), GR707032(1941)

[edit] Further reading

  • Heller, Arnie. "A New Approach for Magnetically Levitating Trains--and Rockets", Science & Technology Review, June 1998.
  • Hood, Christopher P. (2006). Shinkansen ? From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-32052-6.
  • Moon, Francis C. (1994). Superconducting Levitation Applications to Bearings and Magnetic Transportation. Wiley-VCH. ISBN 0-471-55925-3.

[edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Magnetic levitation train

Look up maglev in

Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

  • International Maglev Board (IMB)
  • United States Federal Railroad Administration
  • Transrapid
  • The UK Ultraspeed Project
  • The Shanghai Maglev
  • Japanese Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI)
  • Open Directory
  • Documentary video about the Japanese maglev
  • Pics and info about moderate and high speed maglevs
  • Maglev review and pics
  • AMLEV MDS System
  • Birmingham's Maglev sytem (BBC)
  • Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) for Transportation


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U.S. Writer-Producer

Gene Roddenberry, who once commented, "No one in his right mind gets up in the morning and says, 'I think I'll create a phenomenon today,'" is best known as the creator and executive producer of Star Trek, one of the most popular and enduring television series of all time.

A decorated B-17 pilot during World War II, Roddenberry flew commercially for Pan American Airways after the war while taking college writing classes. Hoping to pursue a career writing for the burgeoning television industry, Roddenberry resigned from Pan Am in 1948 and moved his family to California. With few prospects, Roddenberry followed in his father's and brother's footsteps and joined the Los Angeles Police Department, where he served for eight years. During his years as a police officer, the LAPD was actively involved with Jack Webb's Dragnet series. The LAPD gave technical advice on props, sets and story ideas based on actual cases, many of which were submitted by police officers for $100 in compensation. Roddenberry submitted treatments based on stories from friends and colleagues.

Roddenberry's first professional television work was as technical advisor to Frederick Ziv's Mr. District Attorney (1954). The series also gave him his first professional writing work as well. In addition to writing episodes for Mr. District Attorney, Roddenberry also wrote the science fiction tale "The Secret Weapon of 117," which was broadcast on the syndicated anthology series Chevron Hall of Stars (6 March 1956). Roddenberry gained more success as a writer and in 1956 resigned from the LAPD to pursue writing full time.

Roddenberry continued working on Ziv TV's new series, The West Point Story (CBS, 1956-57 and ABC, 1957-58) and eventually became the show's head writer. For the next few years, he turned out scripts for such series as Highway Patrol (syndicated), Have Gun, Will Travel (CBS), The Jane Wyman Theater (NBC), Bat Masterson (NBC), Naked City (ABC), Dr. Kildare (NBC), and The Detectives (ABC/NBC). Even at this furious pace, Roddenberry continued to develop ideas for new series.

The first series created and produced by Roddenberry was The Lieutenant (NBC, 1963-64). Set at Camp Pendleton, The Lieutenant examined social questions of the day in a military setting. Coincidentally, the show featured guest performances by actors who later played a large role in Star Trek. Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, and Majel Barrett. Casting director Joe D'Agosta and writer Gene L. Coon also worked with Roddenberry on Star Trek.

A life-long fan of science fiction, Roddenberry developed his idea for Star Trek in 1964. The science fiction series was pitched to the major studios and finally found support from Desilu Studios, the production company formed by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The original $500,000 pilot received minor support from NBC executives, who later commissioned an unprecedented second pilot. The series premiered on 8 September 1966.

Like The Lieutenant, Star Trek episodes comment on social and political questions in a military (albeit futuristic) setting. Roddenberry described Star Trek as a "Wagon Train to the stars" because, like that popular series, its stories focused on the "individuals who traveled to promote the expansion of our horizons". Star Trek was the first science fiction series to depict a peaceful future, and Roddenberry often credited the enduring success of the series to the show's positive message of hope for a better tomorrow. It was also the first series to have a multicultural cast. Star Trek, which received little notoriety during its three-year run, was canceled after three seasons due to low ratings. However, it gained worldwide success in syndication.

In addition to producing the Star Trek feature films, Roddenberry continued to write and produce for television, but without the same degree of success. His pilot for Assignment: Earth (NBC) was incorporated as an episode of Star Trek (29 March 1968). Later pilots included Genesis II (CBS, 23 March 1973), The Questor Tapes (NBC, 23 January 1974), Planet Earth (ABC, 23 April 1974), and Spectre (21 May 1977). Roddenberry served as executive consultant on an animated Star Trek series (NBC, 1974-75). A second Star Trek series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, premiered as a syndicated series in 1987 and had a successful seven-year run.

Roddenberry was the first television writer to be honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (on 4 September 1985). Known affectionately to Star Trek fans as "The Great Bird of the Galaxy," Roddenberry died on 24 October 1991. With the permission of Roddenberry's widow, actress Majel Barrett, the producer's ashes were carried aboard a 1992 flight of the space shuttle Columbia. In 1993, Roddenberry was posthumously awarded NASA's Distinguished Public Service Medal. NASA cited his "distinguished service to the Nation and the human race in presenting the exploration of space as an exciting frontier and a hope for the future."

-Susan Gibberman

Gene Roddenberry

Photo courtesy of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences

GENE (EUGENE WESLEY) RODDENBERRY. Born Eugene Wesley Roddenberry in El Paso, Texas, U.S., 19 August 1921. Educated at Los Angeles City College; University of Miami; Columbia University; University of Southern California; honorary D.HL. from Emerson College, 1973; honorary Doctor of Science from Clarkson College, 1981. Married Majel Leigh Hudec (Majel Barrett), 1969, children: Darleen, Dawn Alison, Eugene Wesley. Served in U.S. Army Air Force, World War II. Pilot for Pan American Airways, late 1946-49; worked for Los Angeles Police Department, 1949-51; television scriptwriter, 1951-62; wrote first science fiction script "The Secret Defense of 117," episode for Chevron Theater, 1952; created and produced The Lieutenant, 1963; Star Trek, 1966 and Star Trek: The Next Generation, 1987. Recipient: Distinguished Flying Cross; Emmy Award; Hugo Award. Died in Santa Monica, California, U.S., 24 October 1991.




Pretty Maids All In a Row (producer and writer), 1971; Star Trek: The Motion Picture (producer), 1979; (as executive consultant) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 1982; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, 1984; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home 1986; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, 1989


The Making of "Star Trek" (with Stephen E. Whitfield). New York: Ballantine Books, 1968.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture. New York: Pocket Books, 1979.

The Making of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (with Susan Sackett). New York: Pocket Books, 1980.

Star Trek: The First Twenty-Five Years (with Susan Sackett). New York: Pocket Books, 1991.

Gene Roddenberry: The Last Conversation: A Dialogue with the Creator of Star Trek (with Yvonne Fern). Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1994.


Alexander, David. Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry. New York: ROC, 1994.

Barret, Majel. The Wit and Wisdom of Gene Roddenberry. New York: Harper Collins, 1995.

Engel, Joel. Gene Roddenberry: The Myth and the Man Behind Star Trek. New York: Hyperion, 1994.

Paikert, Charles. "Gene Roddenberry: American Mythmaker." Variety (Los Angeles), 2 December 1991.

Van Hise, James. The Man Who Created Star Trek: Gene Roddenberry. Las Vegas: Movie Publisher Services, Inc., 1992.

See also Star Trek


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