Rail Race: Maglev or HSR, What is the Future?

August 4, 2009 at 2:51 pm 1 comment

ENR: Engineering News Record, July 21, 2009
by William J. Angelo, John T. Harding and Andy Kunz

If we can continually bail out failing airlines and fund airport development, why not invest in a first rate railroad infrastructure that would compliment and enhance our Federal highway system? Many issues remain unresolved such as how fast is fast and should the line be publicly or privately owned? Should we go with ‘proven’ technology or make a quantum leap? And just why is there a high-speed rail gap between the U.S. and the rest of the developed world?

Two opposing Viewpoints, one supporting Maglev development by John Harding, a member of the International Maglev Board, and the other by Andy Kunz, president, US High Speed Rail Association in favor of ‘conventional’ high-speed rail. Readers are encouraged to read both articles then add their own voices to this debate. Steel wheels or maglev – you decide. (see article)

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Entry filed under: Rail, Transportation.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jakub Holic  |  August 5, 2009 at 1:48 am

    If you go thru arguments on HSR side, most of it can be achieved with Maglev too, sometimes Maglev system can do it better. Two arguments still remain: 1.) HSR is proven for decades used technology and 2.) it can be connected to existing rail infrastructure.
    To the first point: Horse and carriage is used for centuries. Transrapid maglev system has been tested for almost 3 decades and it has proven safety and reliability even in Shanghai.
    To the second one: This is probably the main weakness of Maglev systems, but construction of maglev platforms inside existing railroad stations, is not as dificult as it would be with new platforms for rail. Building Maglev stops inside bus terminals is also much easier. Maintenance buildings must be built brand new even for HSR systems. Inside the towns and cities, Maglev can quietly run at 200 km/h, and it reaches this speed very quickly.
    Speed records were also mentioned there, but I belive, that much more important are operation speeds. HSR record is 574,8 km/h (special conditions), operating speed 300 km/h (350 with very high energy consumption). Maglev speed record: 581 km/h, operating speed 400 – 500 km/h (550 km/h with very high energy consumption). If you choose HSR you may have much lower amount of stops on the way, or you have to lower the speed, if there are more stops.

    Reply

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