MAG-LEV Trains

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Trace Downing, Jun 23, 2002.

  1. Trace Downing

    Trace Downing Supporting Actor

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    This is an offshoot of the Southwest Airline thread. :b
    The idea is that these trains, which float on a cushion of electro-magnetic repulsion, and can reach speeds of up to 500kph (about 350mph), can be a good alternative mass transit option to air travel.
    *It is said that by 2025, the airport system in The U.S. will be so clogged with gridlocked air traffic, that fewer than 25% of flights will ever be on time.
    *Also, with the increased security measures in place at American airports, the time wasted just in terminals is going to outweigh any time savings that the actual flight would give the average passenger, over a train that can commute from Chicago to Milwaukee in about an hour.
    I'm not talking about buying French TGVs, or Japanese Bullets, but leapfrogging both with a new rail system, based on technology that is being pioneered by the Germans, for installation in the U.S. and Canada, eventually down into Mexico.
    I'm off to search for facts and figures about it.[​IMG]
     
  2. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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  3. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    As discussed in the earlier train thread, even train systems built on current technology are monumentally expensive. A mag-lev system would increase that cost exponentially. As much as I'd love to see inter-city high speed rail alternatives, I just don't see the government providing the funding for it. And projects that expensive would have to be subsidized by the government. There's no way private industry could hope to recoup their costs if they attempted such a system on their own.
     
  4. Trace Downing

    Trace Downing Supporting Actor

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    I'm sorry, I didn't see the train thread. [​IMG]
    Anyhow, I do agree that within the current political climate, it may seem unlikely. The mantra for the last 30 or so years has been "Smaller Government", even though every president has expanded the US government since Truman.
    However, that's not to say that expensive projects have never been done, or that they shouldn't be done, like sending men to The Moon, The Interstate Highway system, Funding a war effort on two fronts with very little to begin with, the manhattan project, building dams during the WPA, etc.
    Leaving construction in the hands of industry is not only unrealistic, but IMO problematic. Most of the rights of way are owned by the freight carriers, they control the speed ratings of the tracks. Amtrack has lobbied them to build faster tracks (I believe good for 60-70 mph), but the freight companies refuse to upgrade from their 50 mph tracks. This not only causes problems ticket buyers, because of low travel times, but derailments are much more likely on cheaply made 50 mph tracks, as we have all seen in the last 30 years. Amtrack also has to pay "rent" for the priveledge of running on Burlington Northern's tracks, which BN, Southern Pacific, etc can charge whatever they want. Some reasons why they are not as self sufficient as they should be.
    So, yes, it would have to be a public works project, but it would last for 100 years and pay for itself in less than 25.
     
  5. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
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    If these things were maintained like trains are now I would never ride on them.....EVER!! I used to think being an engineer or conductor would have been great but in todays railroading climate they are taking their lives in their hands every time they get on a train.
     
  6. Larry Seno Jr.

    Larry Seno Jr. Supporting Actor

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    Here's the thing. If there was some MILITARY reason for Trains to exist they would be here already. It took a HUGE government spending project for the highway system to get into gear, and it's reason is for troop transport should we get invaded.
    I LOVE trains, I love travelling in Europe, I wish there was some way to make this possible, but it's not even plausible [​IMG]
     
  7. Trace Downing

    Trace Downing Supporting Actor

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    Here's the site of an American company currently hoping for a widespread deployment of MAG-LEV transport lines, with themselves as the main supplier.
    http://www.maglev2000.com/
    Now, it's obviously a glowing PR page, but there is some cool information on this site, especially for those who think that MAG-LEV is just another "high speed train". Pay special attention to "MAGLEV Applications" and "MAGLEV today. Even if half of what they boast is true, it looks very doable.[​IMG]
     
  8. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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  9. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Ah, but wouldn't gridlock make each flight progressively later as the day progressed? It's not the delay, it's the throughput that matters.

    MagLev 2000- they're not too far from my house. There was a recent bit on the news about them moving to a new office. They've yet to get their prototype down their 3/4 mile test track. And, the entire company is
     
  10. Trace Downing

    Trace Downing Supporting Actor

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    Most passenger transportation isn't profitable, or only marginally so. This is the way it's been for centuries. The profit comes in the secondary benefits.

    Passenger trains in the early part of the 20th century weren't very profitable in themselves, but they did provide a means of necessary transport in order for the US to grow.

    Transportation allows people to have meetings, get to factory inspections, go to training classes, move products and services to locations without having to build more factories in closer areas (like soft drink bottleres), etc. Efficient transportation makes a country more prosperous because of what it can do for other businesses, which is why fast, efficient, and affordable movement is so important to modern countries.

    When Air travel was shut down for a week after 9/11, it hampered all American business, not just the airlines. Remember your mail being 3 days to a week late? What if there was an alternative to air travel, that is almost as fast, cheaper to run and maintain, uses no fossil fuel, and just as or more efficient, the country wouldn't have to shut down, even if the airlines were forced to.

     
  11. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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  12. Larry Seno Jr.

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  13. Trace Downing

    Trace Downing Supporting Actor

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  14. Tom Johnson

    Tom Johnson Stunt Coordinator

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    There is serious talk of building one to run from BWI airport near Baltimore to DC. The locals are up in arms about it.
     
  15. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  16. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    Honestly, I don't think we're going to see high speed trains in the US for quite a long time. The costs associated with building such a system would basically run the ticket prices right past those of airlines. You also won't save any time on longer duration trips, because while the Mag-Lev's are fast, they don't really compete with a plane going 400-600mph, and remember the train is going to have to make stops between where you are and where you want to go.

    NASA (I think it was NASA anyways) did a bunch of studies on the effeciency of air travel, and basically has said that on a trip less than 500 miles it's faster to drive in most cases. And in a post-9/11 world, that distance is probably even further. If I left right now for airport, it would probably take me at least 2-hours to get from my front door to the gate (and I'm only about 15-20 minutes from the airport), then add another 15-30 minutes of wait time at the gate (can't push more than that, or I risk missing the flight if something takes to long). Now I'm finally on the plane after 2.5 hours. Say I wanted to go to downtown Orlando, which from here is about a 45 flight (Turbo Prop plane), and then another 15 minutes of taxi time to the gate and getting off the plane. I'm at 3.5 hours now and I'm only at the gate in the airport. Figure another 30 minutes to get out of the airport and into a cab or rental car and still have another what 20-30 minutes of driving to do. So 4.5 hours door to door. In a car, that trip is maybe 250 miles with a 75mph speed limit, so let's average 70mph. I'm there WAY quicker. The Mag-Lev would be good in this instance as well.

    I think in a post-9/11 travel world, we are going to see much more people move over to private charters on smaller business-class planes, I've looked into it and in some cases the prices are amazingly close. For instance, a flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau will cost me around $200 on a regular airline (just checked travelocity, this is without silly specials).....to hop onto a something like an older turbo-prop Gulfstream through a charter company is $230, the difference in time easily makes up for that cost. Longer flights are still pricey, a cross country trip will cost you around $2-3k, which is probably competitive with an no-restrictions first class ticket, but will save you a lot of time (the Lears, Gulfstreams, Citation jets fly almost as fast as the big guys) and in more comfort.

    Andrew
     
  17. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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  18. Larry Seno Jr.

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    Was there talk of building an autobahn or a mag-lev train? Because the new Amtrak high speed train has been a MAJOR bust.

     
  19. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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  20. Michael*K

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