PPVRA
Topic Author
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Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Mon Jul 18, 2005 10:02 am

I have been spending some time at http://www.maglev.com learning more about the train and have a few questions:

Maglev.com says that the Maglev technology is more economic than the normal trains. If so, why is it that Shanghai is the only place with such technology in place? Shouldn't there be more contracts signed and an expanding network?

Is it because it just would cost too much and the current system is good enough for now? Or maybe economic times aren't being very helpful?

Also, can we expect to see maglev trains in the U.S. any time soon?

Thanks for any replies,
PPVRA

[Edited 2005-07-18 03:03:18]
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
N1120A
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Mon Jul 18, 2005 10:05 am

The main issues are space to put the elevated tracks and the cost of the systems, which is very high.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Mon Jul 18, 2005 10:27 am

Cost is especially high. In the case of the one existing maglev route to leave the labratory, the cost per mile was estimated at something like $60 million dollars per mile. This is outrageous compared with the price of high-speed train and road/air infastructure over long distances.

Until the price comes down significantly, it will appear in limited markets.

>> Maglev.com says that the Maglev technology is more economic than the normal trains

Well it's an industry lobby site, of course they will present maglev as the most economical transportation method. Maglev is, in fact, incredibly efficent and probably unbeatable on a seat/mile basis.... once constructed.

Again, construction cost is the kicker.

>> Also, can we expect to see maglev trains in the U.S. any time soon?

The U.S. is a finnicky market for rail. Before anyone jumps up and says Americans are ignorant car-loving gas-burning rapid individuals who would never sit down in a train, remember that the U.S. still has a relativly low population density with the exception of a few corridors.

Many states are considering rail (both highspeed, maglev, etc) as future means of people-moving. California, Texas, and Florida have all looked at intra-state rail, but even building something like the ICE has questionable return.

One step Texas has made is to aquire the land for a rail system now, so that a direct rail system can be installed at some point in the future. The Trans-Texas Corridor project includes a swath of land between the major metroplex areas (DFW, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, NAFTA lane) for bi-directional rail. I appreciate that sort of forsight from our leaders, though rail now would also be great  Wink
 
57AZ
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Mon Jul 18, 2005 6:37 pm

Generally speaking the development cost of the necessary infrastructure shuts down discussion. Land acquisition and noise pollution are also major factors. Maglev trains tend to produce noise levels equivilent to that of a jet aircraft taking off. For most applications heavy rail is a better choice all around.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
7FTwinOtter
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Mon Jul 18, 2005 6:47 pm

There is a proposal to build a maglev train system running from London to Glasgow, the cost was estimated at £16 billion.
 
aloges
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Mon Jul 18, 2005 10:12 pm

Quoting 57AZ (Reply 3):
Maglev trains tend to produce noise levels equivilent to that of a jet aircraft taking off.

That must be an awfully silent jet you're comparing the Maglev with. Here's a video (QuickTime) showing a Maglev "flying" by, I assum its at or near top speed.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 1:57 am

Maglevs are the preferred way forward for long distance railway travel, a quick Google search will highlight the various plans. I still think that the Maglev link from Shanghai to the airport was a complete waste of money; like any train they take time to get up to full speed, 2 minutes in the case of Shanghai, and another 2 minutes to slow down again from 437kmph/267mph. So, out of the full journey time of just over 7 mins you are only doing your top speed for 3. Just an example of China showing off their engineering skills.

The Maglev concept was actually invented in the US in the early 1900's by Robert Goddard and Emile Bachelet. I think the first to demonstrate the idea was a German called Hermann Kemper.

Dan Smile
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
PPVRA
Topic Author
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 3:24 am

Quoting 57AZ (Reply 3):
Generally speaking the development cost of the necessary infrastructure shuts down discussion. Land acquisition and noise pollution are also major factors. Maglev trains tend to produce noise levels equivilent to that of a jet aircraft taking off. For most applications heavy rail is a better choice all around.

Noise is definately not a problem, and the link above shows that land acquisition is lower for the maglev... no idea how, but that's what they say anyways...

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 6):
Maglevs are the preferred way forward for long distance railway travel, a quick Google search will highlight the various plans. I still think that the Maglev link from Shanghai to the airport was a complete waste of money; like any train they take time to get up to full speed, 2 minutes in the case of Shanghai, and another 2 minutes to slow down again from 437kmph/267mph. So, out of the full journey time of just over 7 mins you are only doing your top speed for 3. Just an example of China showing off their engineering skills.

Agree 100%. But then, they might be improving their backwards-engineering (don't think "backwards" is the right term...) skills as they are well know of doing...

Thanks for the replies guys.

PPVRA
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
aloges
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 3:25 am

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 6):
Just an example of China showing off their engineering skills.

Sorry?
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 4:52 am

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 6):
Just an example of China showing off their engineering skills.

 rotfl   rotfl 
The Transrapid Maglev was designed and built in Germany!

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:49 am

LOL, I guess this is just another case of me doing sarcasm really badly, should have used a  sarcastic .

Dan Smile
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
dba4u
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:51 am

Yeah they wanted to run it between Hamburg and Berlin but... Guess what? Right... The costs of building the tracks were way to high, so they wanted to build a shorter route Munich Center to Munich Airport but even for that route the costs were to high (well... Officially they're still considering it as a possibility, but...). So to get at least a bit of money back they've invested these dumbass politicians sold the German prestige project to China....
 
aloges
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 7:14 am

Quoting Dba4U (Reply 11):
So to get at least a bit of money back they've invested these dumbass politicians sold the German prestige project to China....

That's our job in the world: inventing toys, bitching endlessly over playing with them and in the end selling them to someone who wants something new!  crazy 
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 8:02 am

Don't forget that in both cases (including the Ruhrgebietsbahn) they also had the NIMBYs against them, like this story about the train being as loud as a jet fighter...  crazy 

It was even argued by certain members of the Greens why traffic had to be so fast, we should go back to the times when it took 10 hours to travel from Berlin to Hamburg (Yes, I listened to some BS like this).

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
aloges
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 8:09 am

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 13):
It was even argued by certain members of the Greens why traffic had to be so fast,

Hmmmm... maybe you need to be able to think quickly to understand why people want to travel quickly!  Wink

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 13):
we should go back to the times when it took 10 hours to travel from Berlin to Hamburg

10 hours is way too fast. I mean, you could still smash a bee at that speed!  rotfl 

In seriousness, I think there are few people who are further from reality than "Fundi" Greens Party members. Theoretically, we could of course abandon civilisation and be happy sitting around the fire for the rest of our lives, but that's simply not what human beings do. The pity is you still end up voting for the party they're in if you want any progress in ecological technology to be made.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
bristolflyer
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 8:14 am

There used to be one at BHX between the airport an the train station. It got taken away (and replaced by a regular train I think). Really quiet and really smooth.

BF
Fortune favours the brave
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 8:29 am

I'm serious, there are a few fundamentalist Greens, who would like to go back to a lifestyle like the one of the Amish, just without the religion. For non-German A.netters, there are two wings within the German Green party, the fundamentalists, short "Fundies" and the realists, short "Realos".
Minister of foreign affair Joschka Fischer is a Realo.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
Blackbird1331
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 8:36 am

Let's calm down. How about a Mag-Lev horse-and-carriage?
Cameras shoot pictures. Guns shoot people. They have the guns.
 
flybyguy
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 8:41 am

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 6):
Just an example of China showing off their engineering skills.

China? Engineering prowess? Hahahahahahahhaha! All their technology is either bough or stolen, their education systems produce walking computer not innovative thinkers. Sure in the past they've had a quite complex civilization when most of the rest of the world was galloping around in loincloths or in the nude, but what better irony for the west to take their precious inventions such as gunpowder and then return later to bring them to their knees with guns and cannons?
"Are you a pretender... or a thoroughbred?!" - Professor Matt Miller
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 9:38 am

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 10):
LOL, I guess this is just another case of me doing sarcasm really badly, should have used a .

I have been to China, whilst I consider their engineering to be interesting, you can also see it falling apart as they are building it. I just could not believe that they were using bamboo as the only support for a flyover whilst the concrete pillar was rebuilt (Yes I know bamboo has been tested and is just as strong as regular scaffolds in theory).

Dan Smile
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
Klaus
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 4:45 pm

Much disinformation in this thread...

a) The "Fundi" faction within the german greens has long left the party. You won´t find anybody remotely comparable to Jutta Dithfurt among the greens any more (thank god!).

b) The Hamburg/Berlin track simply wasn´t feasible. It looked like a nice idea on first glance but fell apart as soon as the specifics were considered.

Some of the problems it suffered from:
- Massive cost for track building and maintenance.
- Transrapid track infrastructure such as joints or crossings are extremely expensive.
- No commonality with the rest of the railway infrastructure - Deutsche Bahn wanted nothing to do with it.
- Both in Hamburg and in Berlin huge construction efforts would have been required to build parallel tracks to the conventional railway system into the city centers (flattening large numbers of buildings etc.). If they had stopped at the outskirts of the cities, any advantage would have been lost in the commute anyway.
- Transrapid is not suited for cargo transport - a conventional track would have been necessary in any case; The maglev track would have been an additional effort.
- At the speeds attained by ICE and Transrapid, even mass transport becomes energetically inefficient at some point.
- Only very minor travel time reduction over an ICE track. - In the range of only a few minutes on the Hamburg/Berlin track!
- It would have been an ultimately pointless technology demonstrator, massively subsidized at the expense fo the rest of german railway infrastructure.

It´s an interesting technology in principle, but it´s simply not very practical.
 
HT
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RE: Maglev Trains... Why So Few?

Tue Jul 19, 2005 9:49 pm

Some aspects have already been discussed in thread http://www.airliners.net/discussions...general_aviation/read.main/2155002
which also has some interesting links in reply 47.
-HT
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