In all directions of transport development, the railroad, which has actually been the flagship of this process since the creation of the steam engine, continues to hold the interest of engineers and remain a relevant means of transportation for ordinary people. A striking example of a non-trivial approach to the railroad is the concept of maglev, and all because this train is moving on a kind of cushion of air, literally flying off the ground. Here are “ten” interesting facts about the maglev – a train that floats above the rails.
The main distinguishing feature of the maglev
The main constructive feature of a magnetically levitating train is that it does not touch the rails, but as if floating above it by reproducing magnetic levitation. Moreover, the operation of such technology, which seems more difficult, in reality is cheaper than with a traditional train – mainly due to the absence of rubbing and wearing parts. However, the Maglev has not become very popular, because it is quite expensive to build a track for this train.
Trends in the spread of the maglev today
Despite the fact that maglevs have not become very popular with rail customers, they still exist in a number of states. For example, they are now not only in operation, but they continue to be developed in China, South Korea and Japan. In addition, there are plans to develop them in other states as well. It can be said that scientific and technological progress, which is able to smooth the acuteness of the issue of maglev construction cost, returned the interest to it, allowing to pay attention, first of all, to many advantages of magnetic levitation models in comparison with traditional trains.
Past experience with maglevs
To be fair, it should be noted that the maglev has a rather tumultuous past. For example, the first magnetically levitating trains did not appear in Asian countries, but in European countries, Germany and Great Britain. In both states these concepts were developed and put into operation in the eighties of the twentieth century. However, they lasted a relatively short time, just a couple of decades. The thing was that the first concepts were not very elaborate and comfortable, so the passengers began to receive massive complaints about this type of transport. Neither the British nor the German maglevs were modernized; they were simply shut down.
The fastest modern maglev
To date, the fastest magnetically levitating train of those that constantly operated is the one that runs between the city of Shanghai and the local airport. Its speed is really striking: according to the information of Novate.ru editorial office, during the movement it accelerates to 430 km / h, but as the process of acceleration and deceleration of the Shanghai Maglev is very smoothly so as not to cause discomfort to passengers.
The speed of levitating trains
The developers are constantly working on the issue of increasing the speed indicators of the magnetically levitating train. It is believed that theoretically the speed of a maglev can be very high, and without any particular risk for both the car and the passengers. So, for example, Japan is already testing a magnetically levitating train, which with passengers inside was able to reach a speed of over 600 km/hour. If success in this field will continue, the maglev has all the chances of becoming the fastest method of land travel in existence, and even compete with airplanes.
A similar unrealized train project with the maglev
The principles of magnetic levitation in this kind of transport have been applied also on the basis of one more project. And though it has been offered for the first time in 1909, it has not yet been realized. We are talking about a vacuum train, the essence of the concept is to move the car along specially laid pipes where theoretically it will be able to reach speeds up to 8000 km / h – that is, in this case we can seriously talk about multiple times the speed of sound. However, attempts to implement the concept of a vacuum train exist even today. and the most famous and most promising project in this direction is Hyperloop, which is being developed by the company of the famous entrepreneur Ilon Musk.
Accidents involving maglev trains
As in the history of any other transport, magnetically levitating trains also have in their stock of episodes of extraordinary incidents. Thus, it is known that for all the time and cases of testing, as well as commercial operation of maglevs, at least several times they found themselves in the center of an emergency situation. The only one of them that resulted in casualties among passengers occurred on September 21, 2006 in the northern part of Germany, in the federal state of Lower Saxony – then the maglev collided with a service train that was cleaning the tracks for it. As a result of the accident 23 people were killed and 10 were seriously wounded. According to the results of the investigation the cause of the collision was the human factor.
The disadvantages of operating a maglev train
There is nothing surprising that the operation of maglev trains has not only advantages, but also disadvantages. To date, even with the modernization of the concept remains a few problems, most of which converge on the electromagnetic field created by maglevs. Experts believe that it can harm not only passengers, but also the residents of homes that are along the location of the tracks. In addition, potentially not everyone will be able to use the services of a magnetically levitating train. We are talking about people with pacemakers – because of the impact of the electromagnetic field there is a threat of the latter’s failure.
The difference in speeds of the maglevs
Despite the fact that the basic concept of a magnetically levitating train is the same in all projects, the technical characteristics of each is different. For example, not all maglevs will be high-speed trains by default. For example in Chinese cities Peking and Changsha maglev trains with speed of 100-120 km/h are effectively operated for many years.