Thread: Maglev

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  1. #1
    I am Murloc! shadowmouse's Avatar
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    Maglev

    I've been quite happy with China's high speed trains, and now I see maglev subway routes popping up on the outskirts of Beijing. For me, this is pretty well science fiction come to life and I'm happy to see it. Personally, I'd like to see the US jump in hard on this, but I don't see people being willing to go along with it.

    Here's an article that lays out some basic points: https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...omestic-travel

    What are your thoughts on maglev?
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  2. #2
    High speed:
    Expensive and usually not worth it, since you can't utilize the speeds unless you have special long distance rail connection where you can actually achieve the high speeds. It's not usable for heavy cargo transportation. Incompatible with existing systems and usually requires you to have it seperated from the ground. In places with snow it means you need to incorporate cleaning mechanisms, since you can't ignore it like with normal railways. The numbers for mass transport inside cities usually don't add up (like at all).

    Beautifil tech that is rarely econimic, so usually it's just for prestige and economic folly.

    Low speed:
    Apparently china and japan have some success here. I guess they mostly use it to circumvent digging subway tunnels, though I have a hard time believing that it's cheaper than simple elevated railway systems, especially with the switches being not nearly as simple as in coventional systems. I guess the biggest pro here is simply that it's pretty silent compared to badly build conventional railways.

    Edit: The argument in your article that it's clean for cities just baffles me. Does britain still operate steam locomotives in cities or how is that seriously mentioned as an upside? Diesel is usually used for cargo, but that hardly makes up your typical city train traffic.
    Last edited by Haidaes; 2021-04-21 at 04:20 AM.
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  3. #3
    Technically neat, but interesting to see how soon it will be economically viable. Guess the modern ones are more comfortable but at least the short section they have in Shanghai felt like running on some small corrugation whereas the "conventional" trains e.g. Shinkansens are like gliding on feathers. In that state, I'd rather look at other means and spend few extra minutes on board and maybe safe a couple of pennies, should the ticket cost reflect the cost of the rail link.
    For short distance subways, I don't know how it will work out. Stations are very close and in many(most/all?) cities the rails aren't running on a dead straight line anyway, so the speed is hardly limited by the rolling stock technology.

  4. #4
    I find it technically impressive, but it's waaay too expensive to be feasible and tracks are very hard to build. We won't see something like this in europe probably.

    But maybe Musk will build an 5000m underground maglev when he gets that his hyperloop is a pipe dream.

  5. #5
    It's one of the things that should be nobrainer, imo.

    It's really down to having more options to traverse the country in a fast way.

    I'd love to have that locally connecting North, Center and South - there are local planes, but the hassle of getting to the terminal, which by itself is a car ride that has to deal with traffic, passing checks and then arriving to some airport in the middle of nowhere with another half an hour ride to destination. Not very fast or efficient.

    And US for sure needs to invest in infrastructure, they have no shortage of $$.

  6. #6
    Legendary! Zuben's Avatar
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    Talked about them a bit in a hyperloop thread. Neat tech, but hella expensive. Makes it practically unthinkable for low-pop nations, where transit ridership isn't anywhere near high enough to make up for the cost. It's a damn shame. I can only hope the costs will come down over time as high pop nations build those things and develop the tech further.
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  7. #7
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    Were getting high speed train from dallas to Houston. I hope I'm still alive by the time they finish it.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Beazy View Post
    Were getting high speed train from dallas to Houston. I hope I'm still alive by the time they finish it.
    kekw, reminds me of some public transportation projects here - I hope my grandkids will still be alive by the time they finish it.

  9. #9
    Banned Beazy's Avatar
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    Same thing here in TX. When I was child they started working on hwy 75. In 2017 they finally finished it.

  10. #10
    It’s not people being willing to go along with it that’s the issue, it’s the insane infrastructure costs we pay in the US due to systemic issues.

  11. #11
    Merely a Setback breadisfunny's Avatar
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    wasn't maglev tried before and abandoned?
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  12. #12
    As materials science advances we'll see more and more things like this. I wouldn't be surprised to see trans-atlantic or trans-pacific rails (underwater) in the future. World travel would hardly cost anything and be very climate friendly.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Haidaes View Post
    Edit: The argument in your article that it's clean for cities just baffles me. Does britain still operate steam locomotives in cities or how is that seriously mentioned as an upside? Diesel is usually used for cargo, but that hardly makes up your typical city train traffic.
    The UK still has a lot of diesel services running, including some of the core commuter lines connecting to London. The Midland Mainline, which runs between London and Nottingham and Sheffield (among others) is entirely diesel north of Luton, and there's no switching to electric trains once you reach the electrified section, so quite a few diesels go into cities still.

    As for my view on maglev, it's an interesting technology for sure, but remains to be seen how viable it is, especially financially. I've been to Japan and used the shinkansen and that was expensive enough. I can imagine maglev will be more expensive than that, and can't see it being fast enough to justify any increase.

  14. #14
    The Unstoppable Force PACOX's Avatar
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    The US would benefit from maglevs. There projects get lobbied out of existence because there's too much money being made in airlines and auxiliary businesses.

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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Syri79 View Post
    The UK still has a lot of diesel services running, including some of the core commuter lines connecting to London. The Midland Mainline, which runs between London and Nottingham and Sheffield (among others) is entirely diesel north of Luton, and there's no switching to electric trains once you reach the electrified section, so quite a few diesels go into cities still.
    Ah okay. I think the only diesel trains here in Munich are one private line that connects to some rural areas (that for some reason have not been electrified, unlike all the other rural areas that have been), also like 5 inter-city lines and the freight trains, all of which don't account for much of the overall train traffic in the city, so I figured Britain would be further ahead here and have electrified the full network. Though I think it would be kinda bizzare to cheap out of electrification previously, yet splurge on meglev now. I doubt they'd replace those lines with meglev .
    Last edited by Haidaes; 2021-04-22 at 10:24 AM.
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  16. #16
    The Insane Masark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by breadisfunny View Post
    wasn't maglev tried before and abandoned?
    In most places. Only Japan, China, and South Korea have kept working on them.

    Everywhere else has stuck with wheels for their high speed trains, which can achieve similar or higher effective speeds.

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  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Masark View Post
    In most places. Only Japan, China, and South Korea have kept working on them.

    Everywhere else has stuck with wheels for their high speed trains, which can achieve similar or higher effective speeds.
    IIRC the first Maglev built in China was German tech.
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  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Chairman Sheng-Ji Yang View Post
    IIRC the first Maglev built in China was German tech.
    It was. The concept was largely abandoned by most German companies though, since there was simply no market and the whole concept wasn't practical to begin with at the time. East Asia kept at it though and have developed it further. From what I read it's mostly China that wants to corner the low speed market as an intra-city replacement for subway tunnels (that is at least their sales pitch - it being cheaper than digging a tunnel and practically silent). Not really sure what Japan is trying to do here. They have managed speed records with their Shinkansen L0 of 600 km/h, but I don't think the long distance model has become anymore viable. One article mentioned they also work on a low speed variant.
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  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by breadisfunny View Post
    wasn't maglev tried before and abandoned?
    Germany developed the tech like 20-30 years ago. It was abandoned due to the belief of evil magnetic rays causing cancer or somesuch nonsense in the population. Basically, nobody wanted new tech in their backyard. Missed opportunity for maglev. So we sold it to Japan and China instead. Cos why give up on the profit.
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Haidaes View Post
    Edit: The argument in your article that it's clean for cities just baffles me. Does britain still operate steam locomotives in cities or how is that seriously mentioned as an upside? Diesel is usually used for cargo, but that hardly makes up your typical city train traffic.
    It's unclear what they mean, but without high-speed trains the fast option for getting from city to city is mostly airplanes, and maglev is cleaner - both globally and locally.

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