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What's wrong the maglev train?

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posted on May, 4 2005 @ 10:27 AM
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I just don't understand it. Japan was the first to build the maglev (magnetic levitation) train or the more commonly known as the bullet train. Now why have we not started using this in the United States? In fact, why didn't we use this along time ago. I ask this simply because the bullet train uses very little if any oil at all. Bullet train are mostly run by magnetic levitation. If the bullet train were to be used around this country it would greatly reduce the need for oil.

www.o-keating.com...

Anyone agree or disagree? Any thoughts or comments?




posted on May, 4 2005 @ 10:44 AM
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I've asked this question a lot myself. My only guess is that trains are simply not a priority form of transport in the US.. train service in general here sucks, simply because most people fly or drive, for better or worse. I think it would cost too much to lay the new tracks and comission all those new carriages, and not enough return would be seen on the investment. I've always wondered why they don't have maglev in the UK as well- people there would probably ride it enough to make the investment worthwhile, compared to the US. I would be interested in seeing some figures though to show how much oil trains use in the US as a percentage of total oil used, to see if it really would make a difference. (Not challenging you, just saying I'm curious!)

-koji K.

[edit on 4-5-2005 by koji_K]



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 10:54 AM
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Originally posted by koji_K
I've asked this question a lot myself. My only guess is that trains are simply not a priority form of transport in the US.. train service in general here sucks, simply because most people fly or drive, for better or worse. I think it would cost too much to lay the new tracks and comission all those new carriages, and not enough return would be seen on the investment. I've always wondered why they don't have maglev in the UK as well- people there would probably ride it enough to make the investment worthwhile, compared to the US. I would be interested in seeing some figures though to show how much oil trains use in the US as a percentage of total oil used, to see if it really would make a difference. (Not challenging you, just saying I'm curious!)

-koji K.


I'll get back to you on that but you bring up an excellent point. We are the supposedly the richest nation on Earth and we can't take the time to spend money on transportation that reude traffic and fossil fuels here in the United States. Every single day I have to fight traffic when going to work and if there was a bullet train I would be the first to ride that instead of a car. I know we have the technology and the money to make this happen. We would not only get rid of fossil fuels for cars but for trains as well.



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 11:07 AM
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I used to ride the Shinkansen (New Tokaido Line) Green Car from Tokyo to Utsunomiya in Tochigi Prefecture and on a couple occasions all the way north to Tohoku, which is as far as you can go and still be on the island of Honshu.

It's a fantastic train; you can put a cup of tea on your swing-out table and it will barely ripple, even at speeds of 200 km/hr.

However, the Shinkansen is not a maglev train, it's just a wheeled beastie. Japan does have maglev trains, the MLX1 model, but (at least when I was there) it wasn't a part of the Tokyo-Tohuku line.

But nobody can do passenger trains as well as JR -- nobody.



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 11:31 AM
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yeah , I doubt we'll sove the energy problem with magnetic trains.

how many PSA has GW made to the american people to conserve energy ? none !

dumping them gas guzzling SUV's would be a good start towards conservation

ignore the technology hating tree huggers who don't want new refineries or oil exploration

we have a trillion barrels + of oil in the wyoming area in shale...let's figger out a cheap way to extract it !



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 11:52 AM
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Originally posted by mrmulder
I just don't understand it. Japan was the first to build the maglev (magnetic levitation) train or the more commonly known as the bullet train. Now why have we not started using this in the United States? In fact, why didn't we use this along time ago. I ask this simply because the bullet train uses very little if any oil at all. Bullet train are mostly run by magnetic levitation. If the bullet train were to be used around this country it would greatly reduce the need for oil.

www.o-keating.com...

Anyone agree or disagree? Any thoughts or comments?


Japan actually does not have any maglev lines in service to the best of my knowledge--they are still in the testing stages. The maglev train has only moderate energy savings versus convential rail. Less energy loss to friction on the tracks but air friction becomes more important and the energy savings are not substantial. Note, I'm just telling you what it says on the link you posted. You should read it--energy savings are not listed as one of the maglev advantages.

You also need energy to power the linear motor on the maglev train, plus energy for the induction coils all along the tracks. It isn't a low energy proposition. Secondly you have to lay entirely new rail--you can't just use existing infrastructure. That is a substantial amount of steel and other resources. You would use millions of barrels of oil just building the line itself. Basically building maglev lines is a multi-billion dollar and energy intensive undertaking. Like you link says, and like common sense would tell you, such a project only makes sense to connect major metropolitan hubs with high levels of traffic. For instance, it might be worthwhile building one along the Eastern seaboard connecting say NYC to Florida. You wouldn't want it for travel within a city, but between cities. And an NYC to say Miami line would basically require gobbling up most of the military budget. L.A. was spending like $1 billion per mile for a regular subway (of course there was a lot of waste there)--but I'm guessing you'd be looking at similar expenditure for a maglev line. Japan and Germany can afford it (maybe) because they don't have military outlays like us and they don't have nearly as much distance to cover as we do.

Now that all said, if we somehow survive our impending oil crisis, yes, eventually we'll have to switch to maglev instead of air travel. Since they are powered by electricity (which can be generated by coal or nuclear), maglev could and may have to replace air travel for high speed transit on land. Air travel is barely hanging on as it is even with oil relatively cheap--it simply isn't going to stick around when oil gets over $100/barrel. Of course, this all assumes the US comes to its senses, gives up on military conquest, and spends money on new infastructure. I'm not holding out any hope.



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 12:59 PM
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As far as I know, this is the only maglev that the public can ride. Japan has some very fast trains, but they all have wheels under them. slate.msn.com...



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 02:48 PM
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thought this link may be of interest to the thread... as anxietydisorder pointed out, the only commercial one seems to be the shanghai airport one, although the british test one lets the public ride it for a fee...

www.monorails.org...

but what the us needs is a proper high speed passenger rail network, maglev or otherwise. to my knowledge the only line it has is the acela (NY - Baltimore/DC)? i'd be interested to hear if anyone knows of any others.

-koji K.



posted on May, 7 2005 @ 05:04 AM
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Our country builds this train, but I have to travel to the U.S. to ride on it. www.trainweb.org... If any country could benefit from a high speed rail link, it's Canada. Sitting on Via Rail for a few days gets very old, very fast. I want to travel across the prairies at 500 mph. and then dive into a tunnel through the Rocky Mountains and arrive in Vancouver 6-7 hours after leaving Toronto. But that will never happen in this day of 800+ passenger A380 aircraft. The sky is big and you don't have to lay a lot of track. It's too bad, I like trains.



posted on May, 7 2005 @ 12:02 PM
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When oil is $250 a barrel, then air travel will be extremely expensive. It will be like the 1930's, when (in a depression) only the wealthiest tycoons and hollywood stars could
afford to travel by aircraft. Even after that, 1950's, air travel was a rare and expensive
luxury.

Aircraft need liquid hydrocarbon fuel. There is NO physically suitable replacement, because weight and energy density are crucial.

People will go back to taking trains on account of the cost, and taking ships for intercontinental travel. I think they could make a nuclear powered 60 knot large passenger ship. I don't know the fuel efficiency of zepplins, but they might be another possibility if they could make them fly at high altitude versus the traditional low altitude, where they are much more effected by the bad weather.



posted on May, 7 2005 @ 07:39 PM
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As far as I recall... it was a british invention, but the Uk inventors lost investment so the technology was sold to japan



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