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Sat Nov 2, 2013, 06:42 PM

Maglev train idea for Northeast resurfaces

Source: Baltimore Sun

Maglev is back, tantalizing Marylanders with the promise of speeds that could whisk train passengers from Baltimore to Washington in 15 minutes.

What is billed as a new generation of magnetic levitation technology is at the heart of the latest proposal, the first step in what would eventually be a line taking passengers from Washington to New York in 60 minutes at a cruising speed of 311 mph.

The proposal resurrects a technology that seemed to be the next big thing in the late 1990s and early 2000s before fizzling out amid concerns over its cost, the difficulty of putting together a suitable route and its potential effect on neighbors.


Many of those hurdles remain, but an investment group headed by a former chair of the Maryland Democratic Party and backed by former politicians of both parties is pushing a new version of maglev. The group is seeking financial, community and political support for a project called TNEM — for The Northeast Maglev.


Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bal-maglev-train-idea-for-northeast-resurfaces-20131101,0,7891686.story#ixzz2jXDWYUzH


Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bal-maglev-train-idea-for-northeast-resurfaces-20131101,0,7891686.story



I like fast trains! This could create lots of jobs?

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Reply Maglev train idea for Northeast resurfaces (Original post)
Rosa Luxemburg Nov 2013 OP
gopiscrap Nov 2013 #1
Rosa Luxemburg Nov 2013 #2
jakeXT Nov 2013 #7
happyslug Nov 2013 #11
davidpdx Nov 2013 #29
Kingofalldems Nov 2013 #3
Laelth Nov 2013 #4
elleng Nov 2013 #5
Journeyman Nov 2013 #6
onehandle Nov 2013 #8
happyslug Nov 2013 #9
elleng Nov 2013 #10
happyslug Nov 2013 #13
elleng Nov 2013 #17
cvoogt Nov 2013 #12
happyslug Nov 2013 #14
cvoogt Nov 2013 #22
brooklynite Nov 2013 #19
happyslug Nov 2013 #20
wordpix Nov 2013 #21
Xithras Nov 2013 #32
brooklynite Nov 2013 #15
elleng Nov 2013 #18
davidpdx Nov 2013 #28
7962 Nov 2013 #16
madrchsod Nov 2013 #23
Rosa Luxemburg Nov 2013 #24
AArmstrong Nov 2013 #25
gopiscrap Nov 2013 #27
Historic NY Nov 2013 #26
Rosa Luxemburg Nov 2013 #30
happyslug Nov 2013 #33
Rosa Luxemburg Nov 2013 #34
One_Life_To_Give Nov 2013 #31
Rosa Luxemburg Nov 2013 #35

Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 06:46 PM

1. we should have it for the whole nation

I grew up in Europe and saw first hand the value of good, reliable and cheap mass transit.

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Response to gopiscrap (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 06:47 PM

2. I agree!

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Response to gopiscrap (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 07:05 PM

7. I think only China has it

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Response to jakeXT (Reply #7)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 07:39 PM

11. England had one, from 1984 to 1995, closed it down no spare parts,

 

Last edited Sat Nov 2, 2013, 08:56 PM - Edit history (1)

In 1995 the system was closed down do to a lack of spare parts, It was replaced by buses and then a cable based system (a computer run modern cable car system as in San Francisco but limited to one car at a time),

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maglev

Now the system that replaced the MAGLEV is called a "Cable Line" system. In a San Francisco Cable Car system, a cable runs underneath the road bed at a constant speed all the time. A operator is on the cable car and when the operator wants the car to stop, the Operator first disengages the cable by releasing the grip that holds onto the cable when the car is moving. At the same time the operator engages the brakes and brings the car to a stop. When the operator wants to restart, he uses his controls for the car grip mechanism to re-grab the cable, while the operator releases the brakes. The downside of such system is they tend to be slow about 15-25mph. The upside they can go up almost any steep hill that other vehicles would have a tough time climbing (one of the reason Cable Cars survived in San Francisco was buses could NOT climb those same hills at any where near the same speed as the cable cars while stopping to pick up and leave off passengers).

Now the cable liners are similar, but different. First they have no operator inside the car. Second the cable hauling the car is permanently attached to the car. Third, the cable does NOT run constantly, it stops whenever the operator, in most cases a computer, wants (or more accurately is programed where) the car to stop. Interesting concept for transportation between two stops, useless if you want to operate more then one or two cars on a route (The article below mentions how a two car and even a three car system could work, but in most situation if you need more then two cars you need a lot more and thus the Cable Liner system is not variable).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_Liner

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Response to jakeXT (Reply #7)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 11:32 PM

29. I've ridden on that a few times

It is comfortable and fast. I've been on it when it went over 400 km per hour. You blink and the trip is over. The only bad thing is the stop where you get on is not the most convenient one to get from the downtown area.

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 06:49 PM

3. Kick this one.

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 06:50 PM

4. Sounds like a good idea to me. k&r n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 07:01 PM

5. Not holding my breath.

Rogers, chairman of the Synergics energy company in Annapolis, estimated that building the Baltimore-D.C. segment alone would require “somewhere north of $10 billion.” But the extensive tunneling that would put more than 30 of its roughly 40 miles underground, avoiding Linthicum and other neighborhoods affected by an earlier plan, could drive the cost higher. By Rogers’ own estimates, tunneling costs alone could reach $4.5 billion to $6 billion.

Unlike past proposals, the TNEM group says it can count on financing from a Japanese government bank, reflecting Tokyo’s eagerness to launch the new superconducting maglev technology — developed by Japan Central Railroad — in the U.S. Northeast Corridor. . .

Japan is hoping that development of the Washington-Baltimore segment would entice investors to finance the rest of the line between Baltimore and New York, Rogers said.


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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 07:02 PM

6. Here's an interesting idea: a train that never stops. . .



Though an alternate idea that's been floated is for the train for boarding and leaving ran alongside the main train, instead of above, with a detachable tunnel to pass from one to the other.

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 07:09 PM

8. Sorry, but President Christie will shut this down because it creates jobs and helps people.



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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 07:12 PM

9. Is this going to die, for the same reason it died in the 1990s?

 

Presently it take Amtrak 47 minutes (40 minutes on the Acela) to go from DC to Baltimore. The distance is 35 miles

http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/583/797/Thanksgiving-Timetable-NEC-2013.pdf

http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/170/959/Northeast-Corridor-1-Schedule-101413,0.pdf

Given the distance, 35 miles. If a train did the trip at 70 mph, it could make the trip in about 30 minutes. At 150 mph, in 15 minutes.

Mag-lev comes into its own at speeds greater then 300 mph and distances of more then 100 miles, below that speed or distance, steel wheel on steel rail is both cheaper and faster.

Acela gets up to 150 MPH today. Its average speed is so much slower do to stopping and starting at the various stops between Baltimore and DC and the need to slow down to 80 mph when crossing certain bridges that need major overhaul for safe operations at 150-160mph.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acela_Express

The problem is the road bed and the right of way, DC to Baltimore to Philadelphia to NYC to Boston is the only profitable route for AMTRAK, and then only by ignoring the need to upgrade various sections of the rail way. Sorry, we can run a train between Baltimore and DC in 15 minutes TODAY, if we upgrade the existing right of way AND cut out all the stops in between. Such an upgrade would be less disruptive for this is through one of the most highly densely populated area in the Country, in addition to costing less then a MAGLEV project.

That upgrading the present AMTRAK system would be more cost effective then a MAGLEV system is what killed MAGLEV in the past, and will do so in the future. Why adopt an untested system when a tested system can be used cheaper, quicker and more frequently then the untested system?

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Response to happyslug (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 07:33 PM

10. Thanks.

'AND cut out all the stops in between' won't, can't, and shouldn't happen, for example, Baltimore/Washington/Marhshall Airport.

Similar issues further along the NE corridor AND across the country. The U.S. isn't like Japan, or Europe, systems not comparable (for those who advocate such.)

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Response to elleng (Reply #10)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 08:09 PM

13. When this was proposed for Baltimore, it was suggested for Pittsburgh

 

And in both locations it was for a local route. A Boston to NYC to Philadelphia to DC to Pittsburgh, to Cleveland then Chicago Route would be a variable route. No stops in between, speeds topping 600 mph. NYC to Chicago in under a two hours. Doable by MAGLEV. The reason is the MAGLEV would make no stop in the Appalachians mountains and minimal stops on both sides of those mountains.

It is 299 miles between DC and Pittsburgh
Another 139 miles between Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
340 between Cleveland and Chicago,

http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/257/799/Capitol-Limited-Schedule-071513.pdf

From Boston to NYC 231,
191 from NYC to Philadelphia
135 Philadelphia to DC.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acela_Express

Sorry, the above would be the most profitable route, 457 between Boston and DC, 780 miles between DC and Chicago. Total 1337 miles at 600 miles per hour under 3 hours. NYC to Chicago in under two hours. At these distances, MAGLEV appears variable (Through, would it be more cost effective to just leaving airlines do the same distances? Every time I look at MAGLEV in the routes where it beats out Steel Rail, it loses to Airplanes, I like MAGLEV but can not determine a place where I would prefer it to Steel Rail or Air Travel).

I bring this up for it is the problem with MAGLEV. It is inferior in terms of cost and speed to Steel Wheels on Steel rails at distances under 500 miles, AND inferior to air plane travel when it comes to costs and speed at distances over 500 miles. Where MAGLEV beats Steel rails, it loses to planes. Where MAGLEV beats out planes, it is in turn beat out by Steel Rail.

Maglev is not new technology, the first relevant patent was in 1905, and technologically could have been built in the 1930s. The reason it has NOT been built is where it is good, other older more tested and reliable systems exist. It is the classic solution looking for a problem to solve. MAGLEV sounds high tech so every 10-20 years it comes back, then loses out for the same reason no one did much with it after 1905, other system exists that work as while or better.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #13)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 10:04 PM

17. AND would never obtain necessary rights of way,

couldn't afford acquisition and THEN construction. IMO.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 07:58 PM

12. Not exactly untested

Japan has been testing it since '96 and are building a 300+ mile track of it already.

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Response to cvoogt (Reply #12)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 08:29 PM

14. I did use the word "untested" but I meant "Untested" in the real world.

 

Compared to steel rail, a system that has been used (i.e. "Tested in the real world" since the 1890s when Steel Rail replaced older Iron Rails, maganetic elevation is untested. In two of the three existing use of MAGLEV, one broke down to to a lack of spare parts in 1995, The Germans closed theirs down for what appears to be the same same in 2012 and even the Chinese are questioning the variability of their MAGLEV, calling it a white elephant. These attempts when compared to the massive use of Steel Rail shows how untested in the real world MAGLEV is.

Thus the real probem with MAGLEV is it is inferior to Steel Rail at distances below 500 miles and speeds of less then 200 mph, and inferior to air travel at distances over 500 miles and speeds exceeding 200 mph. The Technology was first patented in 1905, it was possible to build a MAGLEV by 1939. This is very old technology. The problem with MAGLEV is it is a solution looking for a problem to solve, not solution to a known problem.

Furthermore the longest track in Japan is 26.6 miles not 300:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCMaglev

Now, the Japanese Government has agreed to build a 438-499 km (270-310 miles) MAGLEV between Tokyo and Nagoya but the final route has not yet been selected. I think this is where you are getting your 300 plus miles of MAGLEV in Japan from, i.e. what is proposed to be built not what is in actual operation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C5%AB%C5%8D_Shinkansen

The route was picked for the older Tokaido route, which goes 170 mph and is maxed out as to passengers:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokaido_Shinkansen

Here is a map of both route, the present high speed train (top speed 170 mph) is in heavy yellow. The proposed MAGLEV line is the light yellow line. Notice it cuts through the mountains permitting a shorter trip. Between the shorter route, reduction in in between stops (to be left on the older train route which is to be kept) and that it is to be MAGLEV, will reduce the time of the trip. Will the reduction in time be worth it is another question.



In many ways these two routes shows the problem the US would have with a MAGLEV program, the US will first have to get people to use rail then upgrade to a MAGLEV (which is what Japan is doing) not built something that may never be used given the restrictions on using a super high speed high volume traffic train.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #14)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:17 AM

22. Thx for clarification

and " the US will first have to get people to use rail then upgrade to a MAGLEV (which is what Japan is doing) not built something that may never be used given the restrictions on using a super high speed high volume traffic train." I strongly agree. Rail needs to be considered "normal" to more people, otherwise it will always remain a novelty here.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 10:11 PM

19. Question: how many people travel between Baltimore and Washington?

And how many people, whose commuter trains would need to be eliminated from the ROW, travel to either Baltimore or DC?

If you don't know, you shouldn't be making proposals to upgrade the line.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #19)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 10:41 PM

20. I have to defer to people who has access to those numbers

 

But that does not mean I can NOT make a comment about upgrading a line based on those expert's statements and facts that are known. It is constant statement that the route between NYC and DC needs work. AMTRAK calls for it, as have others.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 10:52 PM

21. DC-Boston "the only profitable route...and then only by ignoring the need to upgrade"

Having done this route many times, may I say it has looked the same ragged, decrepit way for decades and I've endured stops in the middle of nowhere for hours due to electrical or computer failures.

Something needs to give

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Response to happyslug (Reply #9)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 04:23 PM

32. Let's hope so. Maglev is a neat toy, but impractical.

The speed record for a Maglev train is 361MPH (set in Japan on a tuned experimental track built for that purpose and using only three cars)
The speed record for an electric steel wheel on rail train is 357MPH (set by the French TGV using tuned production trains on a regular trackage).

So the fastest Maglev train only beats the fastest electric rail by 4MPH. And it consumes substantially more energy while doing so. And it costs roughly five times as much to build.

Once you get past the "Oh neat, it floats!" factor, why would anyone choose maglev over electrified high speed rail?

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 09:46 PM

15. As a Transportation Planner, let me say this is foolish...

First, proposing MAGLEV is exactly the wrong way to do planning: identifying a solution and then finding a problem for it to solve. If the goal is faster service between New York and Washington, then start there and evaluate all possible options before making a mode choice.

Second, building a completely new right of way to carry a MAGLEV train is as difficult as it will be for the Amtrak's proposed high speed train. Who's backyard/farm/public forest will it be built through? How will you build it into the middle of New York/Philadelphia/Baltimore in order to build stations?

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #15)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 10:06 PM

18. Right.

Interesting job you've got!

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #15)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 11:27 PM

28. I agree with you

The longer distance makes more sense. The other problem is there are so many options being thrown around at different costs and different levels of technology. That makes it difficult to figure out which one is best.

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2013, 09:51 PM

16. So much good info from so many of you above!

 

Thanks for finding the research for me. I can be lazy.

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 01:26 PM

23. way to expensive to be practical

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Response to madrchsod (Reply #23)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 07:58 PM

24. transportation of the future

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:03 PM

25. I was in 5th grade when I came up with the concept of mag-lev trains.

 

After playing with magnets, I determined that a rail of an opposite polarity could allow a train with the other polarity to simply rotate magnets to accellerate or decellerate with no energy being used other than that necessary to controll the magnets. Everyone thought I was crazy. That was in 1975, and before I discovered pot.

To be fair, I also designed an internal combustion engine four years earliar. My father asked me what I would construct it out of and I said, "wood". I had the physical mechanics correct, but all of my ideas were great. I also thought it was a good idea to put speakers in the back of the car and use a R2D2 sound generator (of my own design) to impress my first date. Lets just say that didn't turn out so well.

The US is so far behind in infrastructure that I'm almost ashamed to be a citizen. Our recycling percentage is pathetic. Our roads and bridges are crumbling. We can't educate or feed our most needy children, and all the while the 1% continue to get richer while the middle class slides into poverty.

There is no excuse for the richest country in the world to allow anyone to go hungry, go without heat, go without running water, electricity, and health care. Education is essential and yet the GOP fights tooth and nail to destroy it because they need a "base" that's poor, dumb, and ignorant.

I think I went off on a few tangents there, but my statements are still valid.

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Response to AArmstrong (Reply #25)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:11 PM

27. welcome to DU

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:10 PM

26. Nothing new this was talked about in the 80's and it died.....

I suspect it will again until the politicians get serious about rail and alternative forms of transport.

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Response to Historic NY (Reply #26)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 12:12 AM

30. we have some very old stone bridges

we need new lines etc

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Reply #30)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 12:20 AM

33. Those old stone bridges can take the stress of those trains.

 

The problem is NOT the bridges, but the tracks 0n the Bridges. Remember those bridges were built for heavy STEAM locomotives. Steam Locomotives were just terror on tracks and bridges do to the fact their drive wheels were FIXED and thus on any turn put tremendous pressure on the tracks on the the structures beneath the tracks. The stress of a high speed train using electric drive is minor compared to what the old Steam engines did to those tracks and structures under the tracks.

Side note: What we call "diesel" locomotives are in fact Diesel generators that produce electrical power to the Electric motors on the drive wheels. Each wheel can be independent of any other wheel and provide its full power onto the track. This power is provided to the track directly, no left or right push if the track is turning left or right as was the case with Steam Locomotives. The main reason Diesels replaced Steam is that the Railroads could reduce track maintenance with Diesel, Diesels did less damage to the tracks AND could operate on tracks that would cause a Steam Locomotive to go off the track,

In simple terms, the use of Stone Bridges are NOT a problem even if you decide to up the speed of a train in 170 mph. The Tracks would have to be relied to take that speed, but the stones bridges should be all right.

If the decision is to go to MAGLEV, the same issues. The MAGLEV tracks can to based on a Stone Bridge, the problem will be the magnetic track itself not the Stone Bridge it may sit on. It is for this reason it has been suggested that any new track be underground, so to minimize how much above ground land has to be taken to carry the track. Being electric drive, both high speed Steel Rail and Maglev can go underground will a lot less concern with the air quality in the resulting tunnel (i.e. no fuel burning engine to release Carbon monoxide into the tunnel if not enough oxygen is in the tunnel).

Now where the Stone Bridges are may be a problem, in that high speed rail needs more straightaways then slower trains. This is true of High Speed Steel Wheel on Steel Rail or Maglev. Thus the stone bridges may be bypassed NOT because they can NOT carry the high speed train, but the location of the Stone Bridge may be out of the way once a straighter track is built.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #33)

Tue Nov 5, 2013, 12:42 AM

34. Thanks for the info

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Original post)

Mon Nov 4, 2013, 02:18 PM

31. Will mass/centralized travel survive the future?

Or will travel like so much else become decentralized?

For those occasions when we find we need to be somewhere with more than a virtual presence. I think the future trend will be to individualized personal transport. In some ways our transportation is not so different from an Ethernet Data Packet.

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Response to One_Life_To_Give (Reply #31)

Thu Nov 7, 2013, 10:21 PM

35. Perhaps future transport will be flying through the air in small craft

getting from A to B will be only a few minutes instead of hours? Hover vehicles? Who knows?

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